As your children grow and your family changes, consider the following tips::
- Devote quality time to your typically developing children; if possible, schedule some alone time on a regular basis.
- Consider the feelings a child may have toward his or her sibling with special needs, which may include guilt, embarrassment, resentment, or grief. Acknowledge these feelings—even the negative ones—and help your child through them.
- Use appropriate and straightforward language when communicating with a typically-developing child about a sibling with special needs.
- Many times, our other children want to help with their siblings with special needs, which shows how much they care. Find ways to let your other children be involved in caring for their sibling with special needs, but make sure you do not ask too much of them. Maintain balanced, healthy expectations regarding siblings serving as caregivers.
- Talk with your typically developing children about their brother’s or sister's diagnosis, including discussion of the behaviors and symptoms that are part of the diagnosis.
- Encourage their questions and listen to their concerns
- As you learn more about your child’s diagnosis, educate your children about it, too, and reassure them that they can share the information with others when they feel ready.
- Help them understand that their sibling’s diagnosis is nothing to feel ashamed about.
- Let them know that it’s no one’s fault.
- Let them know that their feelings are valid. Seek sibling support groups or "sibshops" in your area to help your children connect with other kids who have siblings with disabilities. Sibshops help kids accept disability and consider it "no big deal."
Brothers and Sisters ()
This handout from TelAbility.org provides tips for providers and parents to help them special needs siblings.
Sibling Support Project
A national effort dedicated to the life-long concerns of brothers and sisters of people who have special health, developmental, or mental health concerns, includes Sibshops workshops for siblings.
Sibling Support on Facebook
Facebook page for the Sibling Support Project.
Allies with Families
Provides information and support to families of children with mental health needs. Wellness education and training: emotional support, training, and resource information for families of children with emotional, behavioral, and mental health disabilities, including workshops for siblings.
Sibshops: workshops for siblings of children with special needs
A program of the Sibling Support Project.
Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign
The R-word is the word 'retarded(ed)'. A campaign toward creating more accepting attitudes, using people-first language.
Green Tree Yoga - Audio Yoga Breaks
Yoga for You is for people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Take a quick yoga break at work, school, at home, or offer it at a meeting. Whatever you are wearing is fine. Just release some physical and mental stress as you listen and take an easy yoga pause. Be more productive, be more focused and relaxed, and be healthier. Several are specifically for kids.
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