ASK AMY: The special needs child really needs good uncles

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Dear Amy: I have a 9 year old with special needs. “Kyle” is high functioning on the autism spectrum, but does not do well in athletics and other “typical” settings that might help a child fit in, make friends, and have a functional child dynamic.

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We are concerned that he is becoming more socially isolated. We are very engaged and committed to your therapy and well-being. Our little families do the same (especially the two sets of grandparents).

My problem stems from my younger (adult) siblings.

They are both loving, but apparently distant uncles.

It really bothers me about their lack of effort or involvement that I know my son would benefit from: whether it’s an occasional day trip to the zoo, the park, the ball game, or the pleasure of an overnight stay.

They haven’t offered for years. They have no children and live nearby.

Growing up, I was the older brother who acted as a caretaker. I’ve always thought each of them was spoiled and self-centered.

Am I wrong to worry so much about this? I just can’t get over my disdain.

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I know it’s not your job to “raise” your nephew, but a few hours of quality time a month would help his psyche immensely.

Your recommendations?

– Annoyed Dad

Dear Dad: Contact between these guys and “Kyle” would probably be good for Kyle. It would also be good for your brothers.

Those of us who have family members with special needs understand that sometimes the relationship can unlock qualities that will put a person in touch with their own deepest humanity.

If they got to know his nephew, your brothers would see that he has a sense of humor, that he has a unique way of looking at the world and processing information, and if he connected with them and they formed a close relationship, they would just be better men.

Do you want to be better men? Maybe not.

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They won’t step forward spontaneously, because they don’t know how. Need an engraved invitation from your big brother? Unfortunately, yes, they do.

Instead of sharing his disappointment and disdain, he must ask his brothers for help.

Invite them (one at a time) to go out with you and Kyle.

You’re going to have to show them how to be with him, and when you do, one or both of your brothers might develop their own peculiar kind of relationship with Kyle, which would grow as these guys get more confident. Then you can ask if you could each take him maybe one Saturday morning a month for some “uncle time.”

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Dear Amy: My fiancé and I have been together for four and a half years. We are getting married next month.

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It will be a small wedding, with less than 50 guests.

After we sent out our invitations, stating the start time was 2:30 pm, one of my aunts texted and asked, “What time is the wedding? We have a conflict that we are working on. For us, if it was later in the day, it would be better… just say!”

I know you got the invite. I simply replied that the wedding started at 2:30.

I later found out that his conflict is a garage sale that he has been planning to have.

This week, another guy texted: “Just thinking about your wedding day. How late at night do you plan the reception to be?”

Amy, I think if this wasn’t a gay wedding, these inappropriate questions would never be asked. I don’t think they consider this wedding “royal.”

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Am I exaggerating when I feel offended?

– Two boyfriends

Dear bride and groom: I am very happy to report that you are not being discriminated against. How do I know this? Because on my wedding day, people called and texted me asking what time the ceremony was, asking for directions to the church, and telling me they were bringing extra guests.

I’ll be happy to post stories from others’ wedding days, many of which will put your aunt and uncle’s advance requests into perspective.

The other good news is that none of this will matter. You will have a great time.

Dear Amy: I loved your response to “Happy to help” who was wondering how to help their partner get over writer’s block.

I was so happy to see my favorite author Anne Lamott quoted in the reply!

– big fan

Dear big fan: quoting from charlotte’s website: “It’s not often that someone comes who is a true friend and a good writer.”

Anne Lamott is that, for many writers and readers.

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