Brain Injury Care Provider

Supporting the siblings of a child with special needs

Having a child with special educational needs (SEN) can make parenting even more stressful and complex.

However, it is important to understand the needs of the siblings of child with SEN, as they can equally struggle to cope too.

Being aware of this and consciously checking in to see how every child is doing is helpful to keep everyone content in the home.

Building support systems

Something which is really important in helping children with a sibling with SEN is making a support system for them.

This can mean having after-school support programmes for the child, or groups they go to in order to give respite to the parents and other siblings.

Equally though, as a parent may not always have the time to be there for every single thing that the siblings need due to a child with SEN requirements, ensuring that the siblings know they can have other people to talk to is also vital.

Whether this is them talking to their teachers, grandparents, or close family friends to name a few, support can be given to all of the children without it having to always fall on the parents.

Open and honest

Another important thing to implement in the family home is an air of openness and honesty.

Whether it is being honest in talking about the situation of having a child with SEN and what it means for the family, or allowing the other siblings to be honest about how they feel, this is a crucial aspect to adopt.

There’s not necessarily a need to use the correct language such as ‘ADHD’ or ‘OCD’, but simply discussing the disorder and making it clear that it isn’t something the child with SEN can necessarily control is also important in helping the other siblings understand.

Equality and time

A final tip on helping siblings of a child with SEN is through equality between all children.

Things such as compliments should be equally shared, as it can help build self-esteem and self-worth.

If the child with SEN has done something you have praised them for, also find something to praise the other siblings for too, whether that’s helping around the house or for something they’ve done at school, it all matters.

Not only this but spending quality time with each individual child every day is also important so that they all feel valued and important in the home.

Quality time isn’t just driving them to and from school, it’s going for a walk with them, having a bedtime or bathtime routine, or simply cooking a meal and eating with them.  

You could also have family quality time days too, such as going to the park together or a family game night.

For information on creating a support plan for a child with SEN, contact us today.


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