What It’s Like to Have a Sibling with Autism


Every child that is born in this world is a gift from God, no matter if he or she was born with disabilities or conditions like autism. Raising a kid who suffers from autism requires some extraordinary requirements on the parent’s part as people and on the whole family. First of these demands is the absence of adequate hours in a day to do all the wishes of every child. Particularly, the time that is involved in meeting the requirements of a member of the family who has autism might leave the parents to take care of the other kids.

Most parents feel that despite their efforts to take care of their child with special needs, they are still struggling to respond to the requirements of the whole family. They say that though their life as a person might be put on hold and the couple may share an understanding of the requirement to make the sacrifices for the benefit of their child who suffers from autism, there are parents who are eager to make the same demand of their other children. As an outcome, there will be a consistent tension between the requirements of the child who has autism and those needs of the other kids.

Sources of Tension and Stress for the Siblings

Not every sibling will feel and encounter these issues but the following really happens in real life:

Embarrassment around the peers and jealousy concerning the amount of time spent for them by their parents versus their time they have to spend for the child with special needs

Frustrations for being not capable of engaging or getting a response from their sister or brother

Being a target of some aggressive behaviors

Attempting to make up for the incapacities of their brother or sister

Concern about their parents’ grief and stress

Concern over their responsibilities in future caregiving

Explaining Autism to Kids

Common sense will tell us and the research will support the idea that kids should be able to understand autism and what is this condition all about. It is important to keep in mind that your kids know something about autism and that the details that you have provided to them are suitable and good for their developmental age. From their early childhood years, they already need explanations that will assist them to understand the behaviors of their brother or sister that are of concern to them.

For a preschool-age child, it might be as easy as “Your brother does not know how to talk” while for a teenager, it can be something regarding the possible genetics of this health condition. The key here is to never forget to adjust your details according to the age of your child and his or her level of understanding. For instance, those kids who are very young may notice those unusual behaviors that can cause curiosity and scare to them. An older kid may have concerns of a more interpersonal environment like how to explain autism to his or her friends.

In case of a teenager, all these concerns might shift to a long-range need of his or her sibling who suffers from autism and the role that he or she will have to play in the future. Each age comes with its needs and your task will be to listen carefully to the immediate concerns of your child.

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