Autism Support & Awareness, Friendship

My Sister’s Keeper : A Sibling Connection Beyond Autism

Our twin daughters may have a slight difference in appearance due to being fraternal, but they’ve never allowed any of their differences to separate them in connecting close as sisters. One of the best lessons we’ve learned as a family in communicating effectively with our autistic daughter, Paris is through observation of the relationship she shares with her twin sister Payton. Their relationship of respect, compassion, patience, and understanding is something that we all can learn to adhere in applying as a society to grow better in acceptance for those within the autism community.

Depending on the day one twin may be a little outgoing than the other. However, overall Payton is the strong willed, outspoken, and the idependent twin. Paris has sparks of gut bursting energetic moments, but overall she’s low-key in being to herself. I’ve notice in social settings Payton slightly guides Paris in holding her hand or gives her twin sister social cues in directions in letting her know what is to be expected depending on the setting or request. She never belittling or points out her sister’s struggles at times in navigating through school, playdate moments, or settings where we’re in our least comfort zone outside of our home as a family.

Paris helping Payton with a puzzle.

The both have their areas were one is stronger and one may need more assistance. Paris is an avid learner finding comfort in expression through academics. Payton is an avid adventurer who loves to explore. I’ve observed when Payton is struggling with answering a puzzle, flashcard, or answering a question Paris jumps eagerly in assistance to help her.They both love being outside, but Payton enjoys outdoor sports more. She’ll help her sister as they create relay races, catching the ball, explore in nature, or in making mud pies.

Payton all smiles after completing the long trail at the Savannah Rapids, Evans G.A.

My oldest two are still learning how to cope in having a sister living with autism. My son became frustrated in watching Paris have a meltdown while we were at a restaurant on Spring Break. He said,” I wish Paris never had autsim!” My eldest daughter in explaining Paris’ reaction in certain social settings in play can abruptly “excuse” her sister’s response in telling others quickly ” Paris is special needs.” Payton has no labels in defining Paris other than “That’s my sister!” Paris was having a rough morning in preparing for school one day. I laid her on my pillow to set my cell phone to play the alphabet song in hopes of finishing the two of them up to head out the door. Payton laid right beside her twin sister, and she begin to comfort her singing her rendition of “The ABC’s” wiping her sister’s eyes from tears. Paris immediately smiled, and the sisters held hands. Their relationship of love, compassion, respect, and understanding is the gateway example of acceptance in being each others’ keeper.

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