Siblings need a support system as well!
It is not unusual that an individual feels jealously, resentment, or bitterness towards a sibling with special needs. It is also not uncommon that this individual feels neglected or rejected by the parents, as raising a child with special needs is very demanding on time, energy, and money. Being a sibling to a child with special needs can be wonderful, yet complicated, confusing and challenging! These siblings need a way to navigate their thoughts and feelings in a healthy manner with proper supports through the most difficult times.
I want to share quite a few resources with you! The Association for Science in Autism Treatment published a wonderful article entitled How to Manage the Impact of a Child with Disabilities on Siblings. Definitely worth reading! Don’t forget to visit the Autism Speaks website and download their sibling support toolkit for families. If you are looking for information on publications, workshops, and trainings, the Sibling Support Project has some wonderful resources for you. SIBS NJ (Supportive Initiatives for Brothers and Sisters) is a great way for siblings of those with disabilities to connect via Facebook. This group offers support and information to siblings on a variety of different topics, and is a helpful way to engage others in conversation about challenges facing siblings today. If you visit the Arc of New Jersey website, there are many resources available for the different age populations of siblings. Young Sibs, Teen and Young Adult Sibs, and Adult Sibs all have different needs, and therefore require different supports.
Please do not underestimate the value of a strong sibling relationship and the benefit of supporting siblings of those with special needs!