Ask Sam letter


To Sam

My (autistic) brother

Hi Sam,

I'm sure that my older brother has autism, but no one in my family has actually been to a doctor or psychiatrist to check for sure. His school teachers also think he has got autism. I always see him lonely at school; don't know whether to feel sorry for him or to be embarrased of him in front of my friends. His behaivior at home is outrageous; he swears at my mum l and mysiblings. I have a two brothers and two sisters, my autistic brother is the oldest out of all my siblings. I think that he autistic because of bad parenting, my mom and dad used to fight over financial problems but that has kind of been solved with social workers. He hits my family members all the time; he spits as well. As i am writing this letter, he is hitting and swearing and spitting at my mom. Sometimes, I wish he wasn't my brother, when he is not in the house, it is really calm. The house that I live in is very dirty, small and unhygenic. It's atrocious. Whenever someone comes around, it is HIGHLY embarrasing. My dad is just not the type of man that would spend money on my mom. About 2 or 3 years ago, it was worse. I see things improving but vry slowly and very little. What should i do about my brother?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Not everybody with autism is diagnosed with it early on in their life. And it’s never too late for someone to ask for help if they think they have it. I’m not sure whether you’ve talked about your concerns about your brother with anybody else, but it could help to tell someone so that your brother can have help with his behaviour.

There’s been a lot in the news and on TV recently about autism, which means that people are becoming much more aware of the condition. I’m sure that lots of people reading this might have wondered if somebody they know has autism. While it’s very important not to jump to conclusions or label someone, it’s also important that people living with autism get the help they need.

Only a qualified medical professional can say for sure whether somebody has autism. Lots of people have behaviour issues or problems with socialising, without it meaning that they have autism. It’s important to let you know that autism isn’t caused by bad parenting. It’s a learning disability that affects how people behave and communicate in social situations and it isn’t anyone’s fault. Scientists aren’t completely sure what causes it, but they agree that people are born with autism and have it all their lives.

It’s not okay for anyone to hit, swear or spit at people. Hitting and spitting are forms of physical abuse. Swearing at someone is classed as emotional abuse. You deserve to be safe at home and I’m concerned to hear that this is happening. I’m wondering who else knows about your brother’s behaviour. If you’re ever feeling unsafe, you have the right to call 999 for emergency help. It could also help to talk to a trusted adult about what he’s doing so that they can make sure that you stay safer.

Parents and carers have a responsibility to make sure that where you live is safe and doesn’t affect your health. I’m not sure exactly what your home is like from what you’ve said, but it might help to look at information about neglect to see whether it matches what you’re going through at home.

I’m really glad you wrote to me about this. It can be hard to be the sibling of someone with behaviour problems like you’ve described and you have the right to have help with how you feel. There’s an organisation called Young Sibs UK that offers support to brothers and sisters of people with disabilities you might want to look at. You could also look at the guide to autism on the National Autistic Society’s website.

Please remember that you can always talk to a counsellor about any of the things you’ve mentioned.  You don’t have to try and cope with these difficult feelings on your own. We're here for you.

Take care,

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