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Siblings leaflet
  • Amanda
    Posts: 281
    At the conference there were lots of questions about supporting siblings. Anne our youth co-ordinator has produced a really good leaflet which Im having trouble putting on here so Ive taken the info and put it below in the hope that some of you might find it helpful.

    Be a good Role Model

    Be honest and acknowledge your own negative feelings about your Autistic child – siblings need to know that it is OK to be angry, feel resentful, disappointed. Tell them that you feel like this sometimes and talk about what you do – walk away, calming strategies. Don’t always try to explain things away, dismiss their feelings or place responsibility. Sometimes WE just want to rant, siblings are the same.

    Think about the message you give about parenting a child with autism. It’s easy to focus on the negative, help your sibling to look at positive aspects about their brother/sister.
    If you don’t already, think about starting an emotional banking diary and encourage siblings to do the same.

    Meet your own needs! If you constantly put everyone else’s needs above your own, what message are you giving to siblings about the importance of their needs? Make time and space for yourself and encourage siblings to do the same, supporting them in doing this. It is important that siblings have something that is theirs alone if they can’t have a space of their own.

    Build a positive support network, speak about the kind of support you get from friends and family, and the support you feel you need. Encourage siblings to do the same.

    Remember the lessons you have learned parenting your autistic child.

    Behaviour is communication. If siblings are acting out consider what it could be telling you. Test out your theories as you would with your autistic child.

    Think about WHEN you reward – don’t reinforce acting out but do praise, acknowledge and reward appropriate, acceptable and positive behaviour. If you want to change behaviour patterns focus on one or two at a time to work on.

    If things go wrong and you have to remove siblings for their protection, be sure to go to them when you have calmed the autistic child. Calmly talk to them about what happened, what they did that may have caused or made things worse – the aim is to help them understand their brother/sister’s disability in the way that you do.

    It may be appropriate to punish the sibling, but explain to them why it is, consider letting this occasion go but tell them what the consequence of them doing the same thing again will be.

    Little things make a big difference - the aim is to nurture the siblings needs
    Praise, acknowledge and reward accomplishments

    Recognise their strengths

    If you can’t do something with a sibling do something for them, e.g. tidy their bedroom, buy them new clothes, game, book. Tell them that you would like to do something with/for them and is there anything that they would like.

    If your sibling is independent and won’t allow you to do anything for them, persist in letting them know that you are there for them too. Leave little notes in their bedroom, on their pillow – tell them how proud they make you, that you love them.

    Try to get a few minutes each day to talk about their day, even if this means asking them to help you with a chore – cooking dinner, washing pots, putting washing away. Rota chores so that you can spend a little time with each child if necessary.

    I do hope this helps xx
  • jelv
    Posts: 185
    This leaflet is available in PDF (Adobe Reader) format from
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