Someone asked me to write about siblings. Here is what I’ve found…If you have a child with special needs, unless he or she is an only child, you have more than one child with special needs. The brothers and sisters of kids with physical, intellectual, sensory, or mental health challenges have their own special needs. They need time alone with their parents, help to understand their sibling, help to explore their many different emotions about their own place in the family, and often help to develop their relationship with their brother or sister.
What are the special needs of your typically developing child?
One sister of a sibling with disabilities wrote a moving and insightful letter explaining her experience. It was published in Bloom in April of this year. You can see it here:
To help guide brothers and sisters of a child diagnosed with autism, I have used parts of this booklet from Autism New Jersey (you can download the whole thing for free:)
Siblings will continue to be siblings for longer than they will be parented. It is one of the longest-lasting relationships we have. Some adult siblings remain close. Some remain in conflict. Some drift apart. Some are dependent on each other after their parents are gone. A little guidance early on can go a long way in the lives of brothers and sisters.