Ten-year-old boy makes film about life with a brother with Asperger's syndrome|
POLLINGTON, Yorkshire, UK: Living with an autistic child must be difficult for anyone, but especially for their brothers and sisters. One 10-year-old boy, from East Yorkshire, was so determined to show the world what it was like that he made a special film that will now be aired on national television in the United Kingdom.
Matthew McMinn's video of what it is like to live with a brother who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism, was selected to appear on Channel 5 on March 30.
Matthew, who lives in Pollington, near Goole, with his parents and eight-year-old brother, Ben, made the video after hearing that the channel were looking for 10-year-olds to send in a two-minute news feature.
His mother, Caroline, said the video showed how difficult life could be for him, and she was very pleased with Matthew's hard work.
"I'm very proud of Matthew and think the video is great as it's given him a chance to express himself. Often, when you have a child with a disability, the other child can be forgotten so it's a good way of showing Matthew that what he thinks is important as well," she said.
Matthew, who wanted people to see his side of the story, said life with Ben was not easy. "It can be very difficult living with someone with Asperger's. Ben gets wound up very easily if he doesn't get his own way, and has to sleep with me at night or he gets scared. I thought it would be unusual for people to see what being with Ben is like," he said.
In the video, he shows their house, how his brother likes to build things in minute detail and how Ben likes to spend time with him, leaving him with little quiet time. It also shows how, after Ben has calmed down, he always says sorry.
Ben, who is a pupil at Cowick Church of England Primary School, along with Matthew, was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome in February this year. But his mother said it was clear he was different for some years before that.
"The main challenge with Ben is his social skills and behaviour. Academically, he's fine. When he started nursery school, his behaviour became noticeable, although people often just thought he was being naughty. His senses can get overloaded in busy places and he'll often lash out as a way of communicating," she said.
Asperger syndrome is an autistic spectrum disorder and affects the way a person communicates and relates to others. A love of routine is a common characteristic of the syndrome and sufferers are often very anxious about change.
However, sufferers do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism and in fact are often of average or above-average intelligence. Because of this, many children with Asperger's syndrome can attend mainstream schools, although some may benefit from special schooling.
(Source: Yorkshire Post, March 30, 2007)