Parents often have to devote a lot of time to meeting the needs of their child with special needs and sometimes, the needs of siblings are either put on the back burner or go unnoticed.
Siblings may have a difficult time coping and may have different and conflicting feelings like worry, jealousy, anger, resentment, embarrassment, and even guilt for feeling all of the above. The good news is that there are many ways that you can support your typically developing child and maintain a strong family life.
- Help your child to understand their sibling’s disability in a way that makes sense for their age and own stage of development
- Check in with your child about how they feel and encourage them to express themselves – consider using art to help your child express how they feel if they find words too difficult
- Celebrate their achievements and successes – a little positive reinforcement goes a long way
- Arrange to spend some time alone with your child – take your child to a movie, for a special meal or even for a little playground time
- Plan fun activities that your children can do together to help strengthen the bond between them
- Think about enrolling your child in a sibling support group where they can connect with other kids who may share similar experiences
- If your child appears to be having a particularly difficult time, consider finding a therapist who understands the unique challenges your child is facing
About Sonali Zoracki:
Sonali Zoracki is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a private practice in New York City. She specializes in providing psychotherapy to parents, caregivers, and siblings of children with special needs.
For more information about Sonali and the services that she provides: