With our children and their needs most of our time is spent focusing on them, their condition and the problems that come with it. We often can forget about our other children, or do we forget or just don’t have time?
Our children with special needs can and do take up so much time, getting them ready for things, dealing with meltdowns, exercises we might have to do with them, hospital appointments, the list goes on. For their sibling this must look like they are the favourite for the amount of time we spend with them.
How do you let a sibling know this isn’t the case and that you love them just as much and how do you help them understand their siblings condition and that the things they say and do they don’t always mean it?
Oliver and his sister Rachel can have the ups and downs, at the moment they are having a up moment playing together on their Ipads and Minecraft. BUT I am sure as soon as Oliver gets bored he will just up and leave with out explaining anything to Rachel, leaving her upset and wondering why he has gone off and what she did wrong. I can’t tell you how many times a day you have to deal with this, explaining the same thing over and over again to Rachel that Oliver will just get up and walk away, that she hasn’t done anything wrong and that he needs a little time to himself. But on the other hand I have the same conversation with Oliver every time asking him to tell Rachel that he no longer wants to play and that he will be leaving.
How much can a sibling understand of these conditions with out having them, how much can you expect them to understand when there are days as an adult that you don’t understand.
Rachel being the older of the two can do what all older sisters do boss about, change a game or game rules at short notice, cramp too much information into one game. To her there is nothing wrong with this and like her friends changing game rules or the game while playing they can easily adapt to the change but a child with ASD can’t 😦 They don’t understand why the game has change or why the rules have changed and this is very hard to explain to Rachel that she can’t do this and this is why some times Oliver has gone off. They best times they play together are the simple games where both know the rules and the rules can’t be changed.
He has be overloaded with too much information on the changes and also the change itself when he was quite happy with the old way. It is hard for Rachel to understand (she understands some times) that Oliver can’t be overloaded with information, things can’t change to quickly.
The worse times seem to be after school, there will always be a argument and meltdowns, Oliver will have struggled while he has been at school, and when he comes home you need to give him time to relax go into his own world and calm down from being at school. Rachel will say a small thing and Oliver can kick off and Rachel will be left wondering what she has done wrong. Or homework she will think she is helping him and she is but some times she will cramp too much information at him causing him to not understand and go into meltdown leaving me to get angry that I have a meltdown for no reason.
Does the sibling get the blame for meltdowns some of the time, do you take it out on the sibling leaving them feeling worse? One thing I have learnt to do is talk to Rachel to hear her side leaving Oliver to calm down and them go to talk to Oliver about what happened and then go back to each of them and explain what they did wrong without shouting and being angry for them to try and understand the situation.
Also Rachel has come to some hospital appointments, Oliver hasn’t always liked this but it has help her to know what happens at them, that they aren’t fun and Oliver is having fun while she is at school.
I think with a sibling constant explaining and repeating yourself is always going on and to include them in as much as you can and if at all possible get them to help with a situation. This has worked for us and also planning and spending one on one time with the sibling, Rachel loves this enabling her to do things she likes to do without Oliver complaining.
Yet with all this going on, at school Rachel is the one person Oliver trust and he will go and find her on a lunch if he has a problem and she will help him sort it out also she will look out for him in the playground and make sure he is ok, she doesn’t always go up to him, but she is there and she will report back to me if she things there is a problem. So outside of home when no one is there to look after Oliver Rachel will. But thankfully at home mum and dad are on hand so she can go back to being the older sibling. x