With social difficulties, homework hassles and after-school meltdowns, a parent’s focus can often be squarely on the child with Aspergers. Siblings can struggle to get their fair share of Mum/Dad’s time and attention. Here is one sibling’s take on the situation:
- You can learn lots from them, as they can teach you heaps about their special interest
- When they change interests, you can learn lots about that too
- When they want to play with you, they focus really well and concentrate just on you
- They can be very loyal and protective
- If you’re younger than the Aspie child, they can physically threaten or hurt you
- They can get angry and lose their cool quickly
- You have to spend a lot of time going to appointments
- Mum/Dad spends a lot of time with him/her, and not with me
Take a moment to think about your other children – how does Aspergers affect them?
- Keep watch that younger children are not being intimidated
- Explain behavioural issues carefully to the Aspie child, and make sure they know/understand a better way to behave
- Follow through with consequences for misbehaviour. It's important that you are seen to be fair with all children in the family.
- Spend special one-on-one time with the sibling(s), to make up for the extra attention the Aspie child gets.
- Check out sibling support groups / clubs that might be of interest
- Try to keep things as normal as possible for the siblings - play-dates and extra-curricular activities especially.
- Watch out for signs of depression. If you think it might help, ask your GP to create a Mental Health Care Plan for the sibling, so you can access Medicare rebates for psychology. (Australia only)
- See my Working the Aspergers System Guide for more strategies and financial supports.