Did you know that “parents who have a child with autism have about a 1 in 5 chance of having a second child with autism, a far greater risk than previously believed” (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/16/autism-risk-for-siblings-higher-than-expected/)?
“In general, the risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is about 1 in 68, or 1.5%. But the risk goes up for families who already have a child with ASD. If a family has one child with ASD, the chance of the next child having ASD is about 20%. If the next child is a boy, the risk is 26%” (raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum_disorder_having_another_child.html).
We knew that we were having a boy. We didn’t even have a diagnosis for Liam until about a month before his brother was born. I like to think that we would not have done anything differently. We did adopt our third child though. I wonder how much the information above affected that decision. More likely, it was due to my having a “geriatric pregnancy” because I would turn 35 two weeks before our son, Kieran, was born.
Kieran does not have autism. It was easy to tell that, especially since we had “things to look for.” However, we didn’t know that siblings of a child diagnosed with autism could have other issues, if they were the 4/5 who were not born with autism.
“43 percent of children in the high-risk group have at least one area of clinical concern, compared with 12 percent of siblings of typically developing children. Apart from autism, symptoms of ADHD are the most prevalent, occurring in 13 percent of the high-risk children” (https://spectrumnews.org/news/many-baby-sibs-without-autism-face-challenges-at-school-age/).
Kieran is a passionate, full-steam-ahead, do everything early, who-needs-sleep kind of kid. Kieran has ADHD and ODD, which we would find out when he was about 3 years old. “40 percent of children with ADHD also develop oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)” (http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/4646.html). I will write more about this later.
He potty trained way too early, because he saw Liam using the potty – he would not be stopped. We didn’t push or pressure him – in fact, we tried to calm him down about it, not no avail. This led to his having accidents much later than I would have expected. Accidents happened also because he was way too busy with whatever he was doing to stop to use the bathroom. With Liam, once he was trained – he was good.
I have lots of “Kieran” stories to share. I will start tomorrow with how Liam and Kieran interacted. I truly believe Kieran was the best sibling Liam could have had – Kieran has pushed Liam (therapeutically) more than any of his teachers or peers. He had such early language skills, that Liam benefited greatly from his company. He is also extremely attuned to social situations. Too much so. Liam heard a lot about what others were thinking and feeling from Kieran. They are playmates. They are best friends. They are each other’s “button-pressers.”
Here’s a quick story to leave you with, from when Kieran was older, to show you a glimpse of the type of kid he is. He keeps us on our toes.
We were visiting my in-laws and Kieran asked to take a bath.
“No, buddy. We are going to have lunch soon. It’s not bath time. Maybe later.”
Stomping away, “I want a bath.”
“Not now, Kieran.”
Returning after about 15 later.
Smiling, “Mom, I just had an accident. Now you have to give me a bath.”
We were in trouble with our second child 🙂