Aline, caring for her brother

My name is Aline, and I am 8 years old. I love playing the piano, learning music and math. I am a caregiver to my brother Sami who has autism. I came to Canada from Saudi Arabia a year ago. Since I came during COVID, I have only attended online school here and haven’t been able to make any school friends. The Young Caregivers Association has given me the opportunity to interact online with kids with similar experiences. It has helped me gain confidence and cope with frustration that I get when I help care for Sami.

I cuddle my brother every night, sing to him, make puzzles with him, teach him how to write, get him snacks, and play with him. I also help watch him when my mom needs my help. I love him so much.

Because he is different, he hasn’t made many friends in school, so I try to be his friend too. I read about his autism online and in books to better understand him and look for new ways to help him. He doesn’t know how to communicate well so sometimes he gets frustrated trying to explain what he wants. I stay calm and work with Sami to figure out what he wants.

Helping my brother makes me feel happy because I enjoy spending time with him and knowing that I am helping. Sometimes it can be frustrating because he breaks or takes my toys, but I remember that he doesn’t mean to and that he has autism which helps me calm down.

The advice I can give another kid like me caring for their brother or sister is to be patient and calm, because sometimes they don’t understand that they are making you frustrated. I also do the same thing every night where I crawl into Sami’s bed and tickle his neck, which he likes and it’s a thing that helps him know its bedtime and I’m there.

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