What About The Siblings of Children with Autism?

Children that have a sibling with autism in NJ may show any broad spectrum of attitudes on their relationship, and research has shown a variety of reactions of the siblings. How a sibling reacts often depends on where they fall in the birth order, the severity of the disorder, and general family behavior. 

A parent would love for the siblings to develop a strong bond, but it could be difficult to develop that type of a relationship. A child with an autistic disorder will demand special attention from the parents, and so the siblings may often compete for that parental attention. There is the possibility of tantrums and unexpected behavior from brothers and sisters of children with autism. However, one of the most positive things that siblings can learn is empathy and understanding at an early age. 

Positive and enduring relationships can most certainly develop between children with autism and their siblings. To best accomplish positive relationships and outcomes, a family must focus on open communication among everyone involved.

1) Jealousy is expected

It’s natural for a child to be jealous of the amount of attention given to an autistic sibling. Parents must reassure the child that thoughts of anger and embarrassment will run through their mind toward their autistic sibling and they shouldn’t feel guilty. You must explain that this will happen, but they will also begin to understand why this occurs and they will learn how to handle unique situations.

Some parents have enrolled their children into autistic sibling workshops where they can meet other children living under the same circumstances. Quickly, they will understand that they aren’t alone. Remember, some children may never connect with their autistic sibling, as they cannot handle witnessing tantrums and unexpected public outbursts. Usually, this type of a relationship turns out to have more compassion and care than an average sibling relationship.

2) Getting Siblings to Relate to One Another

Parents must find ways for siblings to relate to one another. Often, finding shared interest could be something of a simplistic nature. Once you find that common interest, then it’s your job to continually nurture and foster this relationship.

Also, don’t forget to set time aside for some personal one-on-one contact with all of your children. Developing a hobby with them is a great way to share private moments with them. 

3) The Outspokenness of Your Child

Expect your child to become more outspoken and outgoing than other children of their age. Often, they will announce to strangers that their sibling has autism and they have special needs. In certain circumstances, they will become an "expert" in explaining their sibling’s behavior.

Other children will find it tough handling the added responsibility of helping to care for an autistic sibling, as parents must judge what role each child will play. Help them understand that their help is grateful, yet remember they still must live their life as a child.

Parents should only initiate conversations with their child on the future care of the autistic sibling once they’re mature enough to understand such a dialogue. Some will grow up and devote themselves to careers in autism awareness and research development to help find a cure for this disorder. 

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