Ask Julia Anything!

Ask Julia for advice on how to deal with your autistic sibling. It may be a little problem or a big one. It may also just be a question about autism or something else.

Click here to e-mail Julia your question. You will usually get a reply the next day. Some of the questions and responses will be posted on our website.
Question: I want to invite my friend from school over to my house for a play date, but I’m worried about what she’ll think about my autistic brother.
Julia’s answer: I have had lots of play dates with my brother in the house. Here are some of the things that have helped me:
·         Let your friend know about your brother before she comes over. You might say something like, “When you come over to play, you might see my brother Mike. He’s autistic, which means that even though he’s 8, he seems like he’s 4. He doesn’t talk much, but screams a lot, and sometimes tries to run away. Don’t worry, though – he’s cute, fun, won’t hurt you, and we might even have some fun playing with him for a little while.
·         Briefly introduce your friend to your brother soon after she comes over. Be sure that he’s in a good mood!
·         Try to include your brother in a few of the things you do on your play date, even if it’s just having a snack.
·         Whenever you and your friend are around your brother, make sure a parent or therapist is there too.
·         Try not to get embarrassed about your brother’s behavior. Remember – he’s the one acting weird, not you!
·         Sometimes it’s good to get your friend to laugh with or even at your brother, as long as it’s not teasing or offending him. For example, all my friends know that one of my brother’s favorite songs is by Shania Twain. We have fun telling Austin, “Man…” and listening to Austin sing, “…I feel like a woman!” It’s hilarious!
Autism Siblings is not responsible for the accuracy of any advice posted on this website.  Please consult with a professional.