How to Help the Siblings of Your Child With Special Needs

How to Help the Siblings of Your Child With Special Needs

How to Help the Siblings of Your Child With Special Needs

Brother with autism, smirking, pulling his sisters hair, and she looks upset and in pain

Parenting the siblings of children with special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), etc., presents its own unique set of challenges. Your sons and daughters are likely to experience:

• Frustration because they can’t interact “normally” with their brother or sister with special needs
• Embarrassment around their friends
• Jealousy that you spend more time with their sibling
• Concern because they feel your grief and stress
• Enormous pressure trying to make up for what they believe are their sibling’s deficits
• Fear at being the target of aggressive behaviors [1]

Parenting the siblings of children with special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), etc., presents its own unique set of challenges. Your sons and daughters are likely to experience:

•    Frustration because they can’t interact “normally” with their brother or sister with special needs
•    Embarrassment around their friends
•    Jealousy that you spend more time with their sibling
•    Concern because they feel your grief and stress
•    Enormous pressure trying to make up for what they believe are their sibling’s deficits
•    Fear at being the target of aggressive behaviors [1]

Brother with autism, smirking, pulling his sisters hair, and she looks upset and in pain

Brother with autism, smirking, pulling his sisters hair, and she looks upset and in painParenting the siblings of children with special needs, including autism, Down syndrome, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), etc., presents its own unique set of challenges. Your sons and daughters are likely to experience:

•    Frustration because they can’t interact “normally” with their brother or sister with special needs
•    Embarrassment around their friends
•    Jealousy that you spend more time with their sibling
•    Concern because they feel your grief and stress
•    Enormous pressure trying to make up for what they believe are their sibling’s deficits
•    Fear at being the target of aggressive behaviors [1]

Two sisters fighting with the older sister sitting on her younger sister, pinning her down. Father is yelling at them, but they are ignoring him.

Sisters and brothers of children with special needs are likely to experience stress regarding behavior problems that disrupt the family. Their special needs siblings may have problems such as not sleeping and keeping others awake, tantruming, yelling, breaking things, and going into their siblings bedrooms, to name a few.

Overall, siblings of children with autism are more likely to have problems functioning in their day-to-day life. [2]  And there is evidence that the siblings of children with autism are more vulnerable to psychological problems in the future. [3] These issues often apply to siblings of children with a range of special needs as well.

Parents often feel an enormous amount of guilt because their special needs child can take up most of their time and attention.

•    Do you feel like you are neglecting your typically developing child?
•    Are you stressed to the point that you are more irritable and easily lose your temper?
•    Do you feel stretched beyond your limits trying to meet the needs of everyone in your family?
•    Do you worry that your other children are copying behaviors of your child on the autism spectrum?
•    Are your children fighting and having a lot of conflicts?

The bottom line is, trying to take care of the needs of all your children is OVERWHELMING!

Two sisters fighting with the older sister sitting on her younger sister, pinning her down. Father is yelling at them, but they are ignoring him.

Sisters and brothers of children with special needs are likely to experience stress regarding behavior problems that disrupt the family. Their special needs siblings may have problems such as not sleeping and keeping others awake, tantruming, yelling, breaking things, and going into their siblings bedrooms, to name a few.

Overall, siblings of children with autism are more likely to have problems functioning in their day-to-day life. [2]  And there is evidence that the siblings of children with autism are more vulnerable to psychological problems in the future. [3] These issues often apply to siblings of children with a range of special needs as well.

Parents often feel an enormous amount of guilt because their special needs child can take up most of their time and attention.

•    Do you feel like you are neglecting your typically developing child?
•    Are you stressed to the point that you are more irritable and easily lose your temper?
•    Do you feel stretched beyond your limits trying to meet the needs of everyone in your family?
•    Do you worry that your other children are copying behaviors of your child on the autism spectrum?
•    Are your children fighting and having a lot of conflicts?

The bottom line is, trying to take care of the needs of all your children is OVERWHELMING!

Sisters and brothers of children with special needs are likely to experience stress regarding behavior problems that disrupt the family. Their special needs siblings may have problems such as not sleeping and keeping others awake, tantruming, yelling, breaking things, and going into their siblings bedrooms, to name a few.

Overall, siblings of children with autism are more likely to have problems functioning in their day-to-day life. [2]  And there is evidence that the siblings of children with autism are more vulnerable to psychological problems in the future. [3] These issues often apply to siblings of children with a range of special needs as well.

Parents often feel an enormous amount of guilt because their special needs child can take up most of their time and attention.

• Do you feel like you are neglecting your typically developing child?
• Are you stressed to the point that you are more irritable and easily lose your temper?
• Do you feel stretched beyond your limits trying to meet the needs of everyone in your family?
• Do you worry that your other children are copying behaviors of your child on the autism spectrum?
• Are your children fighting and having a lot of conflicts?

The bottom line is, trying to take care of the needs of all your children is OVERWHELMING!

Two sisters fighting with the older sister sitting on her younger sister, pinning her down. Father is yelling at them, but they are ignoring him.

How You Can Help All Your Children

How You Can Help All Your Children

The challenges that brothers and sisters face has a lot to do with their age, their understanding of their siblings special needs, and their individual personalities and temperament. It is important that you begin explaining about the challenges that their sibling has, why they exhibit extreme or unusual  behaviors, and reasons for any social and communication problems. Their understanding will change as they grow and develop, so these conversations needs to be ongoing.  

Books for siblings can be very beneficial in helping them understand your special needs child. A Day in Our Shoes website has “23 encouraging books about siblings with disabilities”.

Two brothers giggling and playing in a stream of water

It is important to give siblings the opportunity to express their feelings regarding their special needs brother or sister, in an accepting and supportive manner.  No matter how strong or negative their feelings may be, have private conversations and make it okay for your child to say whatever they feel. In addition, it is often necessary to learn strategies to manage and improve the behaviors and social skills of your special needs child.

Sisters and brothers can learn how to react and relate to their sibling with special needs.

And they can have a positive relationship with them!

Two brothers and sister smiling and laying in the grass looking at a laptop, the younger brother sitting on his sisters back

The difficulties associated with parenting a special needs child and a “typical” child can be immense, particularly when you are trying to give each of your children the full support they need to thrive in life. Many parents and their children can benefit greatly from getting outside support.

It is important to reach out. You can get help for your children. Let’s determine how your family can best relate to, appreciate, and enjoy living life with your member of the family who has special needs. Together we can develop a plan and strategies that can support your children and address the emotional needs of every family member.

Being the sibling of a child with special needs can be challenging, but it can also be a very enriching experience. If your family, particularly the siblings of your special needs child, is struggling with their role in the family, we are here to help. Contact us for a free 15-minute introductory phone call.

[1] autism-society.org/living-with-autism/family-issues/siblings
[2] huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/siblings-kids-with-disabilities-_n_3682881.html
[3] raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum_disorder_siblings.html

How You Can Help All Your Children

Two brothers giggling and playing in a stream of water

The challenges that brothers and sisters face has a lot to do with their age, their understanding of their siblings special needs, and their individual personalities and temperament. It is important that you begin explaining about the challenges that their sibling has, why they exhibit extreme or unusual  behaviors, and reasons for any social and communication problems. Their understanding will change as they grow and develop, so these conversations needs to be ongoing.  

Books for siblings can be very beneficial in helping them understand your special needs child. A Day in Our Shoes website has “23 encouraging books about siblings with disabilities”.

It is important to give siblings the opportunity to express their feelings regarding their brother or sister on the Autism Spectrum, in an accepting and supportive manner.  No matter how strong or negative their feelings may be.  In addition, it is often necessary to learn strategies to manage and improve the behaviors of your child on the Spectrum along with their siblings.

Sisters and brothers can learn how to react and relate to their sibling with special needs. And they can have a positive relationship with them!

Two brothers and sister smiling and laying in the grass looking at a laptop, the younger brother sitting on his sisters back

The difficulties associated with parenting a special needs child and a “typical” child can be immense, particularly when you are trying to give each of your children the full support they need to thrive in life. Many parents and their children can benefit greatly from getting outside support.

It is important to reach out. You can get help for your children. Let’s determine how your family can best relate to, appreciate, and enjoy living life with your member of the family who has special needs. Together we can develop a plan and strategies that can support your children and address the emotional needs of every family member.

Being the sibling of a child with special needs can be challenging, but it can also be a very enriching experience. If your family, particularly the siblings of your special needs child, is struggling with their role in the family, we are here to help. Contact us for a free 15-minute introductory phone call.

[1] autism-society.org/living-with-autism/family-issues/siblings
[2] huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/siblings-kids-with-disabilities-_n_3682881.html
[3] raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum_disorder_siblings.html

The challenges that brothers and sisters face has a lot to do with their age, their understanding of their siblings special needs, and their individual personalities and temperament. It is important that you begin explaining about the challenges that their sibling has, why they exhibit extreme or unusual  behaviors, and reasons for any social and communication problems. Their understanding will change as they grow and develop, so these conversations needs to be ongoing.  

Books for siblings can be very beneficial in helping them understand your special needs child. A Day in Our Shoes website has “23 encouraging books about siblings with disabilities”.

It is important to give siblings the opportunity to express their feelings regarding their special needs brother or sister, in an accepting and supportive manner.  No matter how strong or negative their feelings may be, have private conversations and make it okay for your child to say whatever they feel. In addition, it is often necessary to learn strategies to manage and improve the behaviors and social skills of your special needs child.

Two brothers giggling and playing in a stream of water

Sisters and brothers can learn how to react and relate to their sibling with special needs. And they can have a positive relationship with them!

The difficulties associated with parenting a special needs child and a “typical” child can be immense, particularly when you are trying to give each of your children the full support they need to thrive in life. Many parents and their children can benefit greatly from getting outside support.

It is important to reach out. You can get help for your children. Let’s determine how your family can best relate to, appreciate, and enjoy living life with your member of the family who has special needs. Together we can develop a plan and strategies that can support your children and address the emotional needs of every family member.

Two brothers and sister smiling and laying in the grass looking at a laptop, the younger brother sitting on his sisters back

Being the sibling of a child with special needs can be challenging, but it can also be a very enriching experience. If your family, particularly the siblings of your special needs child, is struggling with their role in the family, we are here to help. Contact us for a free 15-minute introductory phone call.

[1] autism-society.org/living-with-autism/family-issues/siblings
[2] huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/siblings-kids-with-disabilities-_n_3682881.html
[3] raisingchildren.net.au/articles/autism_spectrum
_disorder_siblings.html