Siblings of children on the autism spectrum are in a unique position. They face challenges similar to those of their parents but have not yet developed the coping mechanisms to deal with them. They need support to help them feel seen, respected and informed on how best to deal with their siblings and their own emotions
If there are siblings in the family, they need to be told in an age appropriate way. When explaining an ASD to a sibling, make sure to take into account your own feeling about ASD as your children will be sensitive to your emotions. You are their role model and they will more than likely take their cue from you. The goal is to inform them and give them an explanation that they can understand. You want your explanation to be compassionate and clear to avoid them becoming overwhelmed.
It is important to acknowledge and accept whatever feelings emerge. Sharing your own feelings can also encourage your child to communicate and feel less alone.
Your overall aim is to create a bonding relationship among siblings. Siblings have the potential to be understanding, accepting, and supportive of their brothers or sisters with ASD—and of all people with disabilities.
Autism Support Louth host regular “Sibworkshops” - these workshops validate siblings’ feelings and provides a sense of comfort in knowing that they are not alone. The workshops offer practical and age appropriate guidance on how to address some of the difficulties they’re trying likely to experience. These workshops are run regularly, keep an eye on our website for the next date.
Brothers, Sisters and Autism - A Parent’s Guide to support siblings
Autism, my sibling and me – A guide for 5-10 year olds
Life as an Autism Sibling – A guide for Teens
Siblings of Children with Autism – A Guide for Families, by Sandra Harr