It is obviously not so pleasing to have your sibling diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It sometimes may be a struggle to acclimatize oneself to such a predicament. As evident from various surveys conducted across the world, it has been found that most of the siblings tend to feel alienated from their parents, who overlook the fact that they are not paying enough attention to their neurotypical children. So, here are a few things that must be taken care of if you have any of your child diagnosed with ASD.
- Acknowledge what is true
Parents do need to let the other siblings at least know of some details of the predicament their fellow sibling has fallen into. Nevertheless, parents too often feel that their other children do not have to know the hardships their sibling is enduring. They think it would bother and distract them, which is definitely not the case. Siblings are deeply connected emotionally, so when they know about their fellow sibling’s disorder, they are able to connect well with them and understand them better. Consequently, the bond they share strengthens.
- Prepare them to face challenges
Parents are supposed to prepare their neurotypical children to face challenges from the very first stage of their existence. It has been surveyed that neurotypical children are more prone to bullying. So, teach them what is right and what is wrong. Tell them what words to not use and how to not comport themselves in front of the diagnosed sibling. They must be taught how to cater to the special needs of the diagnosed sibling and how to protect them whenever and wherever needed. Teach them how to not give in to the peer pressure and always ensure that the diagnosed sibling does not fall short of their attention because of their peers.
- Look for sibling workshops
There are a lot of such workshops conducted from time to time. So, parents must encourage their children to participate in them. They will render them a chance to confide in various other members that are going through the same phase, the things that they feel not so comfortable to discuss with their parents. They can work out an effective solution then and there. Hence, it provides a great advantage to both the neurotypical and the diagnosed sibling. Nowadays, there are many support networks and forums online too which are equally effective.
- Siblings are scrutinizers indeed
Siblings have a nonpareil emotional bond among themselves. So, there’s no question of reckoning that they are not aware of the disorder their sibling has. Even though they are not so educated and haven’t read any parenting books, but they do observe! They observe what problems their fellow sibling is facing and how they are being tackled by the parents, and they do learn a lot from it. So, it should never be thought that they know less than the parents do.
- Neurotypical siblings deserve no less
Neurotypical siblings are often ignored and their needs are generally overlooked. So, they often emerge out as independence and bold human beings. But, parents must always keep in mind that even though the neurotypical siblings do comprehend the fact that they are given less attention due to a reason, nevertheless, they must not be completely ignored. Make sure that they do not have to be under pressure to score well in school or do something extraordinary and prodigious to seek your attention.
- Being neurotypical is not a sin whatsoever
Sometimes, due to feeling lonely and alienated because of not getting enough attention from the parents, children develop some psychiatric disorder, with a probability twice as high as for children not having any sibling with ASD, a study revealed. Moreover, many neurotypical siblings may develop autism themselves due to some mental illness. So, parents need to ensure that they carefully observe their children, their actions and the way they comport themselves. They must talk to them and ask if any help is needed to be sought by them.
- Encourage them to seek and maintain new friendships
Parents should put in their strenuous efforts to imbibe in the minds of their neurotypical children that suffering from autism is not a great deal, to some extent and, nor is it a sin! It is a law of nature. So, they should not be ambivalent to bring their friends home, fearing that their sibling would be laughed at or be exposed as having such a disorder. Neurotypical children should be allowed to spend some quality time with their friends too. This way they can get some moments off their daily schedule and interact with the world that awaits them outside.
- Spends some valuable moments with them
Siblings may ask for nothing, but what’s mandatory is that they must be spent some time with. What all they like is being the cynosure of all eyes. So, try to get some time off your hectic schedules and spend it with your neurotypical siblings. Consequently, they will confide in you more and be more interactive with you. Also, they will realize that they are equally loved and taken care of.
- Encourage freedom of thought
The best thing parents can do is encourage their neurotypical children to live their lives and have independent thoughts. Siblings know that they can look after their diagnosed fellow even if they enjoy their life too. Let them have their own dreams and goals to be accomplished in life.
- Every cloud has a silver lining
Educate your children that it’s the law of nature that someone has to have some kind of disorder. So looking at other families and feeling envious that their lives are better and easier than yours is not the solution to any problem. Make them realize that whatever that happens in one’s life happens for a reason. So there’s bound to be something good hidden in every problem you face. Having a diagnosed sibling will make you stronger, wiser, independent and bold enough to face the challenges of life and much sooner than later, you will emerge out as a better and a stronger human being in general.