Raising a child with autism places some extraordinary demands on a family as a whole (Autism Society, n.d.). Parents are not the only ones affected. In fact, a child’s siblings are just as much affected, if not more. It is without doubt that every child’s dream is to have a sibling or siblings to play with, to grow up with and to share their childhood with. However, children with autism may not be able to play or interact with their siblings just like typical children would. Furthermore, they require more attention and care from their parents and this may affect their siblings. Sometimes, their siblings may suffer in silence, feeling neglected and less loved, or even feel the pressure for the need to be a role model.
However, little do they know, siblings actually play one of the most vital roles in the development of children with autism. More than just being playmates, siblings are one of the first avenue for a child with autism to engage and socialise with. A child with autism can learn many skills from and with their siblings, such as turn taking, negotiation and sharing.
Here at Early Autism Project Malaysia, we provide a support group called Sibling Day, held termly. It is a day where kids whose siblings have autism can come together and share their hardships and experiences. We have activities lined up for the day, and each activity is conducted in a group setting and in a fun manner, where kids are able to have fun while opening up to the group. Sibling Day is a perfect opportunity for kids to discover that they are not alone, and that there are other kids, too, who are going through what they are going through.
The next Sibling Day will be held on Saturday, 5th September, from 9am to 12noon. To register your child for a fun-filled and interactive day call us at 03-20940421 or email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autism Society (n.d.). Siblings. Retrieved August 26th, 2015 from http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/family-issues/siblings/