It’s difficult being a sibling of a kid with autism, but it is still feasible to have a strong and healthy sibling relationship. There are things that siblings can do to strengthen their connection, as well as things that the kid with autism may do to build a close bond with one another.
signs of autism in infants
Parents can also contribute to the connection between their children.
Siblings may not be able to comprehend autism.
Siblings may be perplexed as to what autism is or how to interact with their ASD sibling. They might become irritated or exhausted by their sibling’s conduct. They may not understand why the youngster with ASD becomes upset over specific things or why they need to have them done a certain way.
The sibling without autism, for example, may be unable to comprehend why the kid with autism should sit in the same seat at the table or in the car and why they become enraged when someone else “takes their place.”The sibling may not understand when the kid with autism doesn’t want to visit public areas because they have sensory problems that make being in groups of people, such as at a grocery store or restaurant, stressful for them.
signs of autism in infants
Mixture of Thoughts and Emotions
There’s a lot that goes through a youngster’s head when they find out their sibling has autism or even before they realize they have it.
On the other hand, children may not give much thought to their sibling having autism, and they just perceive them as another kid in the family and another member.
This can be a wonderful thing for some kids. This is an example of acceptance and compassion for someone with autism, who is seen as simply another person in the family.
However, if your children are unfamiliar with the term, it may be beneficial to explain to them what autism is and what kinds of things would be useful for their sibling who has it.
In some cases, a careful examination of how much time each parent spends with the child is sufficient to address potential problems that may already exist or that may emerge in the future.
It can also aid in sibling communication when you promote greater understanding and awareness for the kid on the spectrum.
A four-part guide to assisting siblings of youngsters with autism
There are a few basic rules that may assist you in parenting your children. We will provide you with a handbook based on expert recommendations that aim to support the dynamic and interpersonal connections between your children with and without autism.
The aim of the four-part guide
There are four stages involved in assisting you with the complex issues between your children. The aim of this strategy is to accomplish the following:
- To assist your kids with autism in better comprehending what autism is, teach them about it.
- To assist your children without autism in being more engaged in the life of your child with autism
- In order to promote the sibling connection between your children,
Let’s look at each component of the strategy separately. However, it is crucial to remember that the various components are not designed to be implemented or approached one at a time; instead, they embrace one another.
Part 1: How to Raise Your Kids with the Sibling (or Not)
The first aspect of raising an autistic child with other children who do not have autism is education about autism.
This is about assisting the siblings of a kid with ASD in better comprehending ASD, as well as enabling them to grasp what it means for their sibling since everyone with the condition experiences it differently.
You can explain autism spectrum disorder to your children and assist them in comprehending that ASD is a way some people’s brains function differently than others. ASD stands for Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a syndrome characterized by social and communication difficulties.
Traits of ASD are as follows:
Siblings of children with autism can benefit from the following (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) information::
- Communication and social interaction difficulties, such as:
- Deficits in social-emotional reciprocity (for example, problems approaching others, difficulties starting and keeping a conversation, lower level of sharing of interests and emotions with others, failure to react appropriately to others in a social context)
- Nonverbal communication deficits that are used for social interaction (Problems integrating verbal and nonverbal language, a lack of appropriate eye contact, abnormalities in body language or the use of gestures, and a lack of suitable facial emotions)
- Deficits in establishing, maintaining, and comprehending relationships (For example, difficulties adjusting behavior to meet different social situations, difficulties in sharing creative play or making friends, lack of interest in classmates)
- Restricted or uninteresting patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, such as those listed below:
- Use of objects, speech, or motor tics (For example, simple motor stereotypes, arranging toys or flipping objects, echolalia)
- Avoid extreme reactions to minor changes, difficulties with transitions, fixed thinking patterns, greeting rituals, and the desire to take the same route or eat the same food every day.
- Highly fixated interests that are unusual in degree or focus (e.g., an excessive attachment to or preoccupation with odd items, excessively restricted or perseverative hobbies)
- Sensory processing or unusual interests in sensory aspects of the environment that are abnormal (for example, apparent disinterest in pain/temperature, negative responses to specific sounds or textures, excessive smelling or touching of objects, visual interest with lights or movement)
Because each kid with autism is distinct, individual differences in behavior and behavior problems are typical.
Parents and instructors must assist siblings to comprehend how the youngster with ASD expresses his or her experience of ASD in their own way.
Part 2: Teaching the Sibling Efficient and Friendly Behaviors
The second aspect is education and guidance for children without ASD about how to communicate effectively, appropriately, and compassionately with the child with autism.
This phase of the strategy entails assisting siblings in learning new ways to interact with the youngster who has autism.
Parents can assist siblings in learning how their actions have an influence on the autistic child. They may also educate other family members about specific things they can say and do when interacting with the kid with autism, which will aid the connection between them.
Parents can also educate their young children about how to set limits and communicate their own wants and needs so that they may help their siblings do the same..
Another important thing that siblings of a kid with autism can do to enhance their connection is to spend time together doing things they both enjoy.
This helps the kid with ASD develop a good feeling about his or her sibling. This is when the sibling and the kid with autism engage in a type of interaction that some behavior therapists refer to as pair or rapport building.
The sibling becomes more of a positive reinforcer by engaging in activities that the child with autism enjoys.
Consider how this idea might apply to your own everyday life. When you spend time with friends, you’re probably doing things that they enjoy and vice versa.
You should always be searching for new ways to spend time together. You simply have to look at your kids’ social media accounts on a daily basis to see how much they enjoy different activities and interests.
You can accomplish this by making it easier for the two of you to perform the same activity simultaneously, which may act as a bonding experience for both of your children enjoy going to the beach, swimming, or doing crafts, offer more opportunities for them to do so.
This will help foster a connection between you and your children.
Part 3: Confirming the Sibling
The final portion concerns validating a kid with autism and encouraging their own unique individuality. It’s critical to provide your kids who don’t have autism the same level of care as you would those who do.
Of course, it’s critical to think about your child with autism and their requirements, as well as their preferences, but you should also consider the experiences of your other children.
There are a number of strategies to authenticate the sibling of a kid with autism. Parents can speak with their younger child’s older brother or sister about how they are feeling if he or she is feeling lonely or unhappy.
If you’re a parent of a kid with autism, here are some things you can do to support your youngsters. Make sure you spend quality time with your siblings and attempt to engage them when your child with Asperger’s isn’t available if possible.
Parents can also assist siblings by encouraging them to pursue and enjoy activities that are relevant to their own interests and personalities.
Teaching a Child with an ASD to Have Skills in Support of Healthy Relationships: Part 4
The fourth step in supporting siblings of a kid with autism is teaching the youngster with ASD social, communication, and behavioral abilities that will aid in healthy twin interactions.
Although each child with ASD has different requirements and abilities, it’s conceivable to have some understanding of how parents want their child with ASD to socialize with their siblings.
A deaf toddler who doesn’t talk yet knows how to communicate using gestures or sign language might learn not to physically aggress against their sibling when they’re frustrated, angry, or attempting to convey a need.
To assist the child with autism learn more successful ways to communicate their wants and needs, you may utilize behavioral strategies and functional communication training.
Let’s look at another situation in which a youngster with autism is taught skills that can help them interact better with their siblings, especially if they don’t yet have age- and developmentally appropriate verbal communication abilities.
In this situation, the parents may assist the kid with autism in learning how to enhance their communication skills with their siblings, how to employ active listening techniques, and how to be tolerant and exhibit appropriate listening skills while their sibling is talking about his or her own interests, even if the youngster isn’t particularly interested in that topic or activity.
Assist Siblings of Children with Autism
We’ve gone through a four-part series on supporting siblings of children with autism, as well as how parents and instructors can aid in the formation of positive sibling connections when one or more of the siblings has ASD.
The four sections covered in this article are interconnected, and there is seldom a finish to any one of the parts or phases in the procedure. Siblings might learn more about autism and how it affects people who have the condition.
Parents may continue to educate, lead, and reinforce good behavior that they see in their siblings as it relates to interacting with the kid with autism.
Regardless of whether or not their kid has an illness or a diagnosis, parents can always attempt to validate and consider the well-being of each of their youngsters.
Furthermore, learning skills that allow kids with autism to interact with others is beneficial for children who have this condition.
When parents educate themselves on all four concepts outlined above, they may assist create a better overall family atmosphere. It aids each individual family member in being more supportive of one another while also teaching children in the family social, communication, and relationship skills that will benefit them not just today but also into their future relationships and interactions with others.