This article addresses
- What are the needs of a sibling of someone with autism?
- What can parents do to support siblings?
- What support services are there for siblings?
Unfortunately their needs often remain unmet simply due to the amount of time taken up with the sibling with autism. The autistic sibling will need more hands on parental involvement to attend therapies and interventions, more parental supervision and more time spend overall with the person to help them evolve and develop to their full potential.
There are a number of things that parents can do to support siblings. Firstly siblings need to grow up in a house where they feel loved and appreciated and not taken for granted. They need to be seen as individuals that also have good days and bad days.
They may need more from there parents when things are not going well for them and at these times they may need parental advice and support. Parents need to be in tune with their siblings emotions so they will be able to help them in whatever way they can.
Even though they may feel exhausted, it is not the siblings fault, so parents cannot take their feelings out on them when the sibling may ask a little more of his or her parents.
Siblings can also find support from outside the home. Friends, extended family and also dedicated groups for siblings of children with autism will provide support for siblings who have an autistic brother or sister.
Friends and family are especially good as they will have more time to interact and listen to siblings. Support groups have their own advantages in that everyone there is a sibling of someone with autism and so they will be able to understand the needs of other siblings in the group when there is a sibling with autism.
Some siblings form strong bonds with others they meet in groups and meet for friendship and support outside the group setting.