Siblings of Autistic children are often caring, compassionate, independent, tolerant, and responsive to the needs of others. However, sometimes siblings of Autistic children may feel sad, anxious, or confused about their sibling’s behaviour or its effects on family life. If you have both Autistic and Allistic children, there is a lot you can do to support your Allistic children and their relationships with their Autistic sibling. It is important to acknowledge their emotions. Furthermore, provide them with age-appropriate explanations about their sibling’s behaviour, and seek professional help if necessary. By doing so, you can help your children develop a strong bond and thrive as a family.
Find a Balance
Autistic children often require extra support in their day-to-day activities, and siblings frequently want to lend support. However, it is important to balance supporting your Autistic child and giving your other children the attention they need. Make sure to set aside time for all children equally and engage in activities that they enjoy. This doesn’t mean that each child needs the exact amount of attention every day; it just means being conscious of balancing attention. Subtle changes in your child’s behaviour can indicate anxiousness or stress,
Communication is key when it comes to supporting siblings of Autistic children. Talk to them about their feelings and concerns and encourage them to express themselves openly. Furthermore, let them know that their feelings are valid and that you are there to support them.
Educate Them About Autism
It is important to educate the whole family about Autism. Explain to them what Autism is by offering age-appropriate information and explanations. This can help them understand their sibling’s behaviours and be more patient and compassionate towards them.
Read More: What can I do while on a waitlist for an autism assessment?
Encourage Positive Interactions
Encourage positive interactions between your children. This can help build a strong bond between them and reduce their negative feelings towards their Autistic sibling. Encourage them to play together and engage in activities that they both enjoy.
Provide Them with Support
It is important to provide your Allistic child with support. This can include emotional support, such as listening to their concerns and providing them with reassurance, as well as practical support, such as helping them with their homework or taking them to their extracurricular activities.
If you child is older and helps care for their sibling, they may enjoy being part of a young carers group. These supportive groups provide outings, respite and practical assistance from homework help to financial support. Just being amongst a group of people who can relate to you can have great mental health benefits.
Read More: Little Dreamers. Young carer support ages 4 – 25
Seek Professional Help
If your child is struggling to cope with their Autistic sibling’s diagnosis, it may be helpful to seek professional help. A therapist or counsellor can provide them with the support they need and help them develop coping strategies. You can access up to 10 subsided Medicare rebate able sessions every year to facilitate support for your child’s mental health. You can access the Mental Health Treatment Plan through your GP.
Supporting siblings of Autistic children is important for their well-being and the well-being of your family as a whole. By finding a balance, communicating openly, educating them about autism, encouraging positive interactions, supporting them, and seeking professional help, if necessary, you can help your child thrive. Remember, every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Be patient, be understanding, and most importantly, be there for your children.