Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coulter Sibling Videos

As Abby mentioned in the previous post, it is SO important to think about the siblings of those with autism and their specific needs. There are a variety of resources out there for siblings and I think the Coulter videos-- 'Understanding Brothers and Sisters on the Autism Spectrum' and 'Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Disorder' are among the most helpful.

 We've had the privilege to meet the Coulters on a number of occasions throughout the years and they are truly a remarkable family. They began making videos after their son, Drew was diagnosed with Asperger's. What I love about the this particular video series is that siblings get a chance to hear from others with similar circumstances so that they don't feel as alone.

There are several video options depending on the individual's age and maturity level. One video is designed for kids between the ages of 4-7, one for 7-12 year-olds, and one for siblings ages 12 and above. Siblings candidly talk about both the positives and negatives of growing up with a brother or sister with autism or Asperger's and give real life advice along the way!


These DVDs provide insight to parents about the unique feelings of the sibling without autism and can serve as a conversation starter with their child. In addition, there is also a fourth video of interviews with mothers and fathers specifically designed for parents.

Some voices of siblings from the videos quoted in Dan Coulter's article "Autism, Asperger Syndrome and the Siblings":

"Sometimes when we go in the car, I have to watch my sisters' movies, and it's Barney, Wiggles, or Teletubbies... really little kid shows.. but I have to watch it... because that's what you have to do when you have autistic sisters or brothers."- Alex

"When he says something and the person that he's talking to doesn't understand him, I can understand him so I tell the person that Jaeden's talking to what he's saying." - Elianah 

"I get along with him a lot better than I used to when I was about six or seven. We used to fight a lot back then, but now, we help each other out and we're pretty much tight brothers." -DeP 

Regardless of whether it's through a doll, a video, a book,  a sibling group, or just a chat while riding in the car I think the take home point here is to keep the lines of communication open with siblings and give them a chance to be heard. We don't always know what they are thinking and feeling unless we ask. If you're not sure how to approach it or where to start, I recommend checking out these videos to get some ideas!

Happy New Year to Everybody!

- Molly

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