mage of siblings cuddling eachother on a sofa

How To Support The Sibling Of A Child With Autism

The presence of autism in a family can profoundly affect not just the child diagnosed but also their siblings. These brothers and sisters often navigate complex emotions and scenarios that can significantly impact their development and family dynamics. Addressing their needs is crucial for fostering a supportive and understanding family environment. 

Mark Blakey, a writer for Autism Parenting Magazine, explores the perspective of siblings of children with autism and offers insights on how best to support them.

Recognising The Sibling’s Experience

Siblings of children with autism may experience a range of emotions, from confusion and concern about their sibling's behaviour to jealousy over the amount of attention the child with autism may receive. They might also feel pressure to compensate for their sibling's needs by downplaying their own or may carry fears about the future. Acknowledging these feelings and providing a safe space for siblings to express themselves is crucial.

Mark emphasises, ‘It’s important for parents and caregivers to recognise and validate siblings' feelings. They need to know that their emotions are just as important and that it’s okay to talk about them openly.’

Mark’s Tips For Supporting Siblings

  1. Education and Awareness: ‘Teach siblings about autism to help them understand their brother's or sister's behaviour,’ says Mark. Simple, age-appropriate explanations can demystify unusual behaviours and foster empathy.
  2. Regular Check-Ins: Make one-on-one time for siblings to ensure they don't feel overshadowed. This can be a dedicated time to talk about their feelings, share updates on their life, and feel valued and heard.
  3. Family Activities: Plan family activities that accommodate all children’s needs and interests. Inclusive activities can help build bonds and reduce feelings of resentment or isolation.
  4. Counselling And Therapy: Sometimes, professional help from a counsellor or therapist can be beneficial. This support can help siblings deal with emotions and challenges that might be difficult for parents to address alone.

Mark’s Resources For Supporting Siblings

To support siblings of children with autism effectively, parents and caregivers can access a variety of resources. These resources provide valuable information, community support, and practical advice to help navigate these families' unique challenges. Here’s a list of resources that can be particularly helpful:

  1. Sibshops: This program offers workshops designed specifically for siblings of children with special needs, including autism. Sibshops provides a mix of peer support and education in a fun and energetic environment.
  2. Sibling Support Groups: Many local hospitals, schools, and community centres offer support groups for siblings of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. These groups allow siblings to meet others in similar situations, share experiences, and learn coping strategies.
Share this


More from: Family

Home Ed Daily - The site for UK home educators
Lifestyle Daily - For all the latest lifestyle news
Devon Eco Boutique - 20% off first order with using DEVON20, Kids 0-6 | Adults | Gifts - Advert
Your Pets Daily - Your pets, our passion - advert
Property Daily - Your daily property news - advert banner
Women's Sport Daily - The new home of women's sport in the UK