Two brothers with autism: a 17-year-old tells all

A while back I posted a review of Mary McHugh’s book Special Siblings: Growing Up With Someone with a Disability here on the Easter Seals and autism blog. From that post:

Mary McHugh doesn’t shy away from the troublesome aspects of sibling relationships — she addresses them. It is emotional and enlightening; I recommend this book to teen and adult siblings, as well as all professionals who support families of children with autism and other disabilities.

Five years later, a teenage special sibling has published a book of his own. It’s called Here’s What You Can Do: A Teenagers View of Joy, Laughter and Hope While Living in a Family with Two Brothers Affected By Autism and you can download a PDF of it here for free.

The author, Alek Gensel, is 17 years old, and two of his brothers have autism. His book outlines methods he uses to live in what he calls a “non-typical family.” He also shares personal experiences that give him “a certain attitude that ultimately leads me to happiness — much more happiness — than if I let the situation define me instead of defining the situation for myself.”

Gensel’s book is well organized, arranged by the “4 A’s” the author uses to manage life at home: Acceptance, Affection, Appreciation, Availability. Pretty smart stuff for a 17-year-old! Alek Gensel’s book is far from being a “poor me, wonderful me, look at my special life” memoir. It provides helpful examples and suggestions for siblings of children with autism. Best of all, just like Mary McHugh’s book, Alek Gensel’s is beautifully honest.


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