Parenting Autism - What About The Siblings?

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When a family member is diagnosed with autism, there is a vast amount of information teaching parents how to cope with an autistic child. They will also learn how to manage behavior. Sadly, siblings of autistic children are given very little information about what autism is and how it will affect their family. These tips are designed to help the siblings better cope with an autistic child and in turn keep the family relationship strong in a time of adversity.

In the grieving process, parents often spend so much time and effort on an autistic child that the other children in the family will often feel forgotten. This may lead to behavioral issues, with the sibling acting out and becoming a "problem child" to receive attention. In some cases, the sibling may even try to hurt the autistic brother or sister in an attempt to remove him from the family environment.

The best tip for the brothers and sisters is to find a good support group. There should be resources available at the local chapter of the Autism Society of America. This is especially important in helping siblings feel that they are not alone and isolated in this unfolding situation-others are dealing with the same sorts of problems. Also, try to increase family interaction. Schedule a regular family day or family night each week, where all children can spend time with parents or other family members and share their day or week experiences and any problems. The best thing to remember is to be open about how you are feeling. If children feel that their parents are neglecting some aspect of their life, simply asking them for a moment of their time is often the best solution. It is important for parents to be understanding towards their children's needs for attention, whether they are autistic or not. Communication is the key to helping the entire family run smoothly.

It is my desire that these tips will get your family past the initial shock of the diagnosis and help the healing process to begin for the whole family.

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