When a sibling has a disability it can be stressful for the non-disabled child, as well. A child with disabilities might need extra help and support throughout life, but their siblings will often need more support and understanding, as well.With that in mind, there are ways to help support the siblings of children with disabilities.
Anyone who has a disabled child knows that when you provide care for children with disabilities other needs and wants can sometimes be pushed aside. That is expected, but can also be difficult for that child’s siblings to accept. They may feel as though they are not getting the attention they need, or they may feel like they are being asked to do too much to help out. Either way, it can be stressful for them. But there are some great ways to support the siblings of children with disabilities effectively.
Let Them Express Their Feelings in a Healthy Way
The siblings of a special needs child should not have to keep their feelings bottled up inside. They should feel free to express themselves and talk about what bothers them. Sometimes they may be angry or sad, or they may feel that they do not like their disabled sibling. They may resent some of the things that they do not get or the things they are asked to do. As long as they are taught to express these feelings in a way that is healthy and safe, they should be encouraged to talk about how they feel, and not keep it all inside.
Remember They Are Just Children, Not Adults
They are kids, and they should not be asked to take on the responsibilities of an adult. If you need some time alone, there are options for special needs daycare in Little Rock. That way you will not be asking your child’s sibling to care for them as much or as often. No matter how old the sibling is, caring for a disabled child is a lot of work and can be mentally stressful. By remembering that your child is just a child, and should be treated that way, you can support them and help reduce their stress levels.
Talk to Them Openly So They Understand the Issues
If your disabled child’s siblings do not understand what goes into the care of children with disabilities, they may also not understand why you have to take so much time away from them. This is an important concept they need to grasp, and understanding it starts at an early age. If you talk to your children openly and in an age-appropriate way, there is a much better chance of your children understanding the differences between them and their disabled sibling.
Use the Situation to Teach Them Important Life Lessons
Many things about love, kindness, compassion, and patience can be learned by a child who has a disabled sibling. If you have a special needs child and children who are developing typically, use that situation to teach your typically developing children about life and how they can help themselves, one another, and other people.
For more information on helping disabled children and their siblings, contact Integrity, Inc. today at (501) 614-7200.