Having a child with special concerns, has transformative affect on entire family. The first intent on receiving a diagnosis is finding right and correct treatment approach.
And unknowingly, the neuron-typical sibling is overlooked.
This blog focuses on teaching parents how to interact with neuron-typical sibling and also teach the NT sibling to interact with an autistic sibling.
I believe all siblings go through ups and downs in their relationships. If you remember you must have all fought for the TV remote with your brother or sister. Isn’t it?
Also you would definitely agree that our siblings are the first friends in our life.
And I also feel that the relationship with our sibling is most long lasting and natural n
These traits are also common and very true when two siblings have different neurological profile i.e. NT and ND.
As we respect different bodies, it is must that we respect different kind of brain
So when you have a sibling who is autistic, we add additional complexes to that bond instead of thinking of building it into a healthy sibling tuning
As a parent you would worry if your neuron-typical child would get along well with your autistic child? This is natural and you can’t avoid it
You can adapt certain strategy to nurture a beautiful relationship between your children of different profile neurologically
1. Avoid intentional attention time
It would be evident and very spontaneous that as a parent out of concern you would pay lot of attention to the autistic sibling and in this the NT sibling would surely be missed and feel neglected.
This step can create jealousy and child hood trauma towards the neurotypical sibling
A neurotypical sibling can be presented with social story where they understand what exactly is parent’s love , and what is to be with a sibling who is little different . If this is started early , it can do magic . So keep this in mind . it is also a good idea to set aside time for both siblings where they spend time with the parent separately as well as together. Thus the sibling would learn to share the parent and their efforts and time too.
2. Be a good listener mamma and papa
Listen to your NT child and validate the feeling of jealousy and resentment
Don’t just pour your advices and suggestions directly
Keep an open ear
Remember as an adult we all find it difficult to connect with someone who thinks and act differently with us , then how would you expect a child connect so fast and easily
Keep patience, things take time
Also listen to your ND child, they would communicate very differently when they feel jealous, try to decipher the cues they give you
Be a problem solver and act wisely to what you listen from both NT and ND child
3. Share positive experiences
Share with both of your children about when they played together and had so much fun. Talk about how ND child try helping the NT child
Talk about to the NT child how when you all spend time together is so comforting and should be done more
Talk about when your ND child liked an idea your ND child shared and vice versa
4. Deescalate the conflicts
Conflicts will definitely occur despite sharing a different mind. Conflicts are common because they are siblings.
Try building problem solving skills in both of your children
It is not just the responsibility of NT child be pro active in it, the ND child should share the load
Try figuring out ideas that help both of your kids to enjoy their personal space and quite time
Let both the children practice expressing themselves and calming themselves
5. Last but the best one is – Seek the similarities
There would surely be traits and interests where both kids are similar
This could be related to their daily routines like watching TV , eating sweets , hugging mamma , playing logos etc
Mentioning the commonalities in your children can help them to like , respect and be fond of each other
Well this is very similar to the fact of how you like someone when they share the same thought process as you. You definitely let this person come into your life with no hesitation
Use this also during a tense moment. I assure you, this will be a positive strategy
Dear parents please remember parenting any child is a stressful endeavour. Accept the fact
Also accept that your two children are different, let them do their thinks separately and respect the personal choice. Both of your kids are individual first then your child
Hence invest wisely to making your children have the most real connecting as sibling
All the best
Creative efforts above and Pet Sibling – Heena Sahi
Creative representation of a neurodivergent siblings is done by a talented 12 year old CreativeSaathi associate from Greater Noida Vinayak Raj.