Why telling Siblings is important

This is something that I feel quite strongly about. It is because when I was younger it was never explained to me what was going on, why my brother was treated differently, why he had his outbursts or why he treated people the way he does. Obviously back then I was very upset, felt excluded and very confused but now when I look back on how I felt I feel extremely selfish. That I really missed out because of not having someone explain to me that was going on and why he was being treated differently etc. Between me and my brother there is only one year and 8 days so we were extremely close in age and we were very bonded. I love him dearly and always will, especially now that I understand his ADHD.

Therefor I have made very sure to keep Amellia involved and updated with what is happening with her little brother. She is extremely tuned in with him though, She spotted before us things he was doing or that he wasn’t doing that she thought he would be doing. One day she compared him to a friends child who has autism, and asked if he would always be like her. She also got incredibly worried whenever he wasn’t talking and started to ask us when he would start talking or be able to say her name or anything at all. This was when we decided it was time to tell her that things were slightly different with him and that we can’tย  put a time on when he will start talking or if he ever will. We are pretty sure that he will talk because he makes lots of different noises and sounds etc, but it is hard for her seeing her friends with brothers and sisters around his age talking, running about, going swimming together etc.

Whenever we explained it to her we kept it nice and simple, that he would learn in his own time and that we would all have to make changes. We didn’t say too much too her as we don’t have an official diagnosis yet and we also didn’t want to say too much and confuse her. So we told her a few things and then let her ask whatever questions she had and told her that whenever she had any questions that she could just ask us. The next day she came up to us and made me so happy she told us “mummy I don’t mind if Dylan is different, I love him anyway.” I had to sneak off to have a cry, it was just wonderfulย  an incredible thing for a five year old to have said.

I think it is incredibly important to tell siblings, they will then understand why you have to make differences for them, why there has to be changes and why certain activities or things they enjoy just aren’t as easy to do anymore and why when telling them off it has to done differently and allowances have to be changed.

We are incredibly lucky parents to have such an understanding daughter. If we have to leave somewhere because he doesn’t like it she is perfectly ok with that (as much as I hurt for her) if she has to wait till another day to go to the park because he is having an off day she is ok with that, if he wakes her up in the middle of the night, shes ok with that too. she will come downstairs and lay with me until we get him sorted. She really doesn’t get enough credit for how wonderful she is. I always try and make sure she gets to do the things she wants to do even if it is in a few days time, and that she gets to spend 1:1 time with one of us as much as possible so that she can go to the park and can leave when she is ready, so that she can go swimming, so that she can be a child and forget everything that is going on at home that makes her life so different to a lot of her friends.

This is the reason why I will always keep her up to date with what is going on with Dylan, so that she can feel included along the way and so that she can have as big an understanding as she can about him.
Special needs does not just change the child’s life who is living with the special need it changes everyone’s in the family.

We are all still getting used to the changes, his quirks, dislikes and likes, but we are doing it together as a family. Learning as we all go. I don’t think there has been a more relevant time to reinstate what my blog name stands for; Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.

WeeOhana xxx

16 thoughts on “Why telling Siblings is important

  1. Pingback: re-blogged. Knowing about Sibling “difference” | Winning with Lynne, again! :)

  2. Oh this is lovely. How old was your daughter when you started discussing it? We haven’t officially told our 4 year old daughter that there is officially anything different. But we do lay the groundwork, some people do things fast, some take a long time, that he will walk when he’s strong enough, he will talk, he will do everything at his own speed. We talk about Down Syndrome around her but haven’t really told her that he is different than others. She has picked up some things, like she noticed that other babies were walking “But Simon doesn’t walk yet” and I just say “no not yet, but just wait until he’s chasing you” I both look forward to and dread officially talking to her about it, I’m not sure if that means i’m not ready to talk about it or if I don’t think she’s quite ready to grasp it, maybe both.

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    • My little girl was 4 nearly 5 when we started to talk about it, and normalise the idea. I personally thing that the sooner you tell them and normalise that he is different but perfect too, that she will accept it. It then wont be a big shock and she will then be understanding towards why it takes him a little longer to walk etc! My little girl has been fantastic and adores her little brother, and because we told her early rather than later it is now the norm to her that her brother is a little different and will do things differently and at his own time. She is very open about him and when we were in buying him new toys the lady asked if she was helping choose toys for her little baby brother she quickly replied “No, he isnt a baby, my brother has autism and these toys are to help him learn” And proudly went on about how he was going to learn how to talk etc! As a mummy this made me feel very proud of her!
      I found that finding something relatable to her made it easier for her to understand, I did this by using sesame street as they now have a character with autism. As the book got read to her online she kept saying oh, thats like my brother etc!
      Have you seen the TV program that is out, it is a cartoon and has a little girl in it who has down syndrome and its all about her going about her life! Heres a link to the first episode – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQyr7nDLS4M
      I’m sure your daughter will be a lot more accepting and open about it than you think! I dreaded it too and then after speaking to her couldn’t get over have accepting she was, I was worried she would be upset by it all, but she wasnt at all. She wanted to learn all about it so she could help her little brother!
      Good luck for telling her and if you want to chat etc your more than welcome, I can drop you my email address if you would like! =]

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      • Thank you so much for your reply, I’ll check that show out too. I have started to list some books i’ve found for siblings. Cora was 4 in the fall and I’ve been feeling we’re approaching an official talk about it.Waiting is definitely more our not wanting to change her world a bit, I know she’ll be just fantastic. She absolutely adores him and vice versa, their relationship from the beginning has been a touchstone, in the early days when we were coping, she just adored him and didn’t know there was anything different about anything and it just helped me to say well there isn’t really anything different that matters is there, and push through a bit, its so different now! Simon is just about 18 months now and I think the differences are becoming a bit more glaring. She’ll also be going to school in the fall and i’ve been thinking that we’d be talking about it before then. We do talk a bit about how people are all different and some need more help, or there is a kid in her class who has some control issues, and that sometimes its hard for him because his body wants to be doing something even if he wants to follow the rules and be good. I think we’re laying good ground work. We’ve also attended a few big DS group things and were sort of waiting for her to ask any questions but classic kid she was more into the music the crafts and the cookies to notice anything about anyone! We have another event coming up for World Down Syndrome day 21 March so I’ve debated discussing it before then. I’ll check out that video and see if I can find any of the books at the library!

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      • She won’t see him as any different, just as her perfect little brother ๐Ÿ™‚ groups are great to attend! It also means you get to meet people in the same situation as you and they can help support you as you support them too! It’s very important to make friends with people who understand and are accepting! Good luck finding some books in the library! Amazon also have a good range and a view of them you can look inside on your laptop before you buy so you can see if there worded how you like ๐Ÿ™‚ she won’t notice the differences as to her, that’s her little brother and his differences are what make him perfect! She sounds like a wonderful big sister and enjoy your event on the 21st of March! Lots of love and support to your family ๐Ÿ™‚
        Weeohana xx

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  3. My oldest son has Autism and there is five years difference between him and his brother. My youngest was used to his brother and only knew him as is but there did come a time when he started asking questions. He’s a very inquisitive child anyway so I knew the questions would come eventually. It happened when he 4 years old and would try to play with his big brother. When his brother wanted nothing to do with him he would get really upset and cry. I had several conversations with him but I also talked my older son into playing with his little brother for 10 minutes at a time. This was something the school had suggested to help him with social skills and the boys have gotten closer. My youngest is 10 now and he’s very protective over his big brother plus he helps educate his friends and whoever comes along about Autism. Your daughter is going to do great things because she loves her brother so much and they are so close. This gives her a level of understanding and tolerance that many kids don’t get and it will be a great benefit to everyone around her:)

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