Monday, April 9, 2012

Autistic Kids: The Sibling Problem

In this article from Time Health describes the challenges and consequences the siblings of autistic children face and how parents can help. They face more challenges than the average child and are often more responsible because of it. The article presents us with several challenges these siblings face and ways to solve these challenges as a parent.

These challenges include: The sibling not understanding why their autistic brother or sister wont play with them. Not getting equal attention or equal reward for accomplishments. Being fearful of autistic sibling when they are acting out in an aggressive way. Being embarrassed of their autistic sibling. Feeling like a parents rather than a sibling to their autistic brother or sister. And finally the fact the the responsibility for their autistic sibling almost always continues into adulthood, affecting future relationships and lifestyles.

What the article suggests are several things, these include; Find common ground or activities that both siblings can enjoy. Create special time with the non autistic child where the parent and child can bond without interruption. Give the child a special place where they can go when their autistic sibling is having a behavior issue while the adults handle it, like their own bedroom. Teach them to be open about their siblings condition and not take peoples judgments seriously, but rather have a sense of humor about it. And to give responsibilities to the child that are age appropriate and don't ask them to do more than are capable of when helping their autistic sibling.

The goal of the article is to help make both children feel cared for and important, making sure despite the added responsibility of having an autistic child that they still get to be a kid.

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