“What about me? Aren’t I special?’
How to help brothers and sisters adapt
Brothers and sisters of kids with disabilities have many of the same feelings and concerns as parents, but their needs are often overlooked, says the director of the Sibling Support Project in Seattle, Washington.
“The first thing we do for parents of a child with a newly diagnosed disability is to hook them up with a parent support group,” says Don Meyer. “Siblings need the same kind of peer support but routinely are denied this consideration.”
According to the Sibling Support Project, brothers and sisters may feel:
See What parents can do (right) for tips on minimizing these concerns.
It’s important to remember that research shows that siblings of kids with disabilities also have unique opportunities that shape their lives in positive and profound ways: compared to their peers, they are more accepting of differences and more likely to include others, more mature and independent, and they have a greater appreciation for their families and for their own health.
A 2004 Journal of Family Nursing study found school-age children who have siblings with multiple disabilities scored significantly higher in co-operation, assertiveness and self-control than peers with typically-developing siblings.
What parents can do