As the oldest of three, and the big sister to a disabled brother, she has more responsibilities on her strong, young shoulders than many children. I rely on her to help me gather the clan to go out places, find the right shoes, fetch the car keys, keep an eye on Thomas while I concentrate on Duncan, that sort of thing.
She has had a deep, intense bond with Duncan, ever since he was born and she was just under two years old and unable to pronounce his name properly. She has always just accepted him as he is. She has explained him simply to many of her friends who have come around and been puzzled at the odd behaviour of her little brother. She has never exhibited embarrassment or unease around him, nor has she taken on any aspects of the "poor deprived sibling" mantle, often mentioned in discussions about disabled children.
Her views on her brother's autism were published on the NAS "Think differently about autism" site, though that section has since been removed. As far as I could tell, hers was one of the few "insights into autism" which wasn't entirely negative. It was however, entirely honest.
As well as straightforwardly explaining his differences to her friends, Lady has always been of so much help whenever the children have been looked after by other people. Our main babysitters have been my sister, dad and Gordon's mum. Each time, Lady has been on hand to offer advice and to interpret for her brother. This weekend, while I was in Dublin, Gordon's mum looked after the children for the afternoon and evening until Gordon returned from a day-trip abroad. Lady sorted out all Duncan's meals for him, and helped settle him at night. He opted to sleep at the bottom of her bed like a little puppy, wanting to be close to his wonderful big sister.
I'm so proud of that girl.
Here's what she wrote about Mother's Day;
It was Mothers day yesterday and it was fun. My Mum's name is Sharon and she is thirty six and is very funny. If my room is not tidy she will go mad. When I was five I'd think she was going to morf [morph] into a monster but she didn't. I love to go shopping with my Mum and I love to play with her too. On Mothers day I gave my Mum a card which was home made and I gave her some flowers. I will sometimes give her some chocolate or some fudge. I love my Mum a lot.