Beyond the Obvious – Tips for Helping a Child Find the Uniqueness in a Special Needs Sibling


Posted on: 26 December 2016

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Beyond the Obvious - Tips for Helping a Child Find the Uniqueness in a Special Needs Sibling Parenting a special needs child is a great privilege, and also a great responsibility. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to help facilitate a relationship between your child with his (or her) special needs sibling. Here are some ideas to get you started. Recognizing Special Abilities All abilities are not exactly the same. We tend to think of abilities as something that makes us incredibly popular or well-known, but there are many abilities that are more low-key. Teach your child to recognize these less glamorous abilities in his special needs sibling. For example, perhaps your special needs child has an ability to make others smile. Point this out and remind your other child often. Involve Your Child in His Sibling's Care Find small ways for your child to care for his special needs sibling. There are many little things he can do, whether it be helping his sibling put toothpaste on their toothbrush or helping out with toys that his special needs sibling struggles to complete. Be careful not to overwork your child though, or he will begin to resent his sibling and feel like he is being used to help too much. Don’t Neglect Your Children Who Aren’t Special Needs One common complaint of children who have a special needs sibling is that their parents gave all their time and attention to the child who needed extra help. Although it might simply be unavoidable that your special needs child requires more of your time, make every effort to carve out extra time in your schedule to include the others. This way, your children will see you making that effort and appreciate that you are doing what you can to keep things as fair as possible. Recognize What Your Child Does For His Special Needs Sibling When your child has gone out of his way to help his special needs sibling, be sure to recognize him for it. Don’t take advantage of his kindness and don’t manipulate him to do more to help by giving an excess of compliments, but definitely take the time to notice. Every once in a while, go beyond a verbal “thank you” by giving your child a card or a special treat like a special date together at his favorite park or restaurant. Connect with Other Children Who Have Special Needs Siblings One thing that is important for any child with a special needs sibling is to connect with other kids who are in the same family situation. There are groups where both parents and siblings of special needs kids can find support. Find these connections and utilize them. Being a parent of a special needs child is no easy road, but the rewards are unlimited. One of the greatest things to experience is to see your other children loving and appreciating that child. By helping your child to view the special and unseen qualities of his sibling, you are contributing to this effect.

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