One of the most immediate challenges for many siblings of autistic children is that parents have to spend more time focusing on the child with the issues rather than being able to divide their time more evenly. Oftentimes siblings may not understand why their parents aren’t paying attention to them and feeling like they have to compete for attention can often lead to resent towards the parents or sibling. Today we’re here to give you some autism resources on how to help children handle the challenges that come with having a sibling with autism.

  1. It’s important to talk openly about the situation. Clearly explain what is going on to siblings and answer questions they may have. You don’t have to use formal jargon when speaking to your children, but you should describe the behavior that kids might find concerning, and make it clear that it isn’t willful. Speaking in terms of strengths and weaknesses is often helpful.
  2. Spread the support around! When you have a child with autism who needs a great deal of encouragement and support, the other children may feel that their achievements are taken for granted or that they’re not getting as much praise as the other child. Spread the sunshine around! If you’re really trying to reinforce one sibling’s behavior, instead of ignoring another sibling’s bid for attention, look for something very soon afterwards that’s positive about what that sibling is doing, and give him the same level of positive reinforcement.
  3. Finally, try to look at the positive side of things. Know that growing up with a special needs sibling teaches valuable skills and empathy!

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