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how does having an SN sibling effect your NT children?

(24 Posts)
chocjunkie Thu 30-Jun-11 07:24:14

I have DD1 (3, severe s&l delay, autistic traits, no dx yet) and DD2 (8 month).

when I look around family and friends (most of them have 2-3 NT children, none of them has children with SN) it is lovely to see how the children relate to each other, play with each other (the younger children) or are really good and supportive friends to each other (the older children) and I am starting to worry more day by day how having a big sister with SN will effect DD2... I am actually getting strangely obsessed about atm confused sad

how do your NT children deal/cope with this?

ohmeohmy Thu 30-Jun-11 08:03:05

My eldest of 2 has SN, my dd has learnt to reach out to him, she will do something to make him laugh and entice him into a game for a while. She does get upset if he won't play with her or does something she doesn't like to her. From about 18 mths she knew how to get her own back and if he was nasty she would stand by him and sing a song he hated to wind him up.
She is protective of him though I am careful to moderate that as I don't want her being anxious about him.

i think it is important to make time for the NT child on their own with each parent or grandparents, time where they are getting the attention and support they need. I think siblings of SN children tend to have a greater understanding of difference which serves them well. There are positives to be found in this situation. In terms of their relationship to each other I don't think you can force it, just like with any other family. Some siblings get on others don't.

mum0fthree Thu 30-Jun-11 08:26:27

I would say both positive and negative. My eldest dd (15) has had moments when she has displayed jealousy, (he is your fav etc). However in school she has a lot of time for SEN children. She is very popular and doesn't allow any teasing/bullying. A few actually seek her out because she has the time for them. My middle dd (10 tomorrow) is VERY bossy. I think this is a mix of middle child and the fact that her bro has AS and demands a lot of my time.

I will hold my hands up to not spending enough time in the house with eldest two. I try and do something with both of them individually each month, manicure etc. In the main though they both adore their brother and I think it is shaped them into really caring individuals.

blueShark Thu 30-Jun-11 08:34:32

my boys are same age gap chocjunkie and when DS2 NT learned to walk, talk, etc..he became if a real interest of DS1 (SLI with autistic traits).

DS2 is the best therapist and role model for DS1. He is patient (well I had a great deal of input here until I taught them sharing and turn taking, and NOT fighting), cooperative, loving and DS1s best friend. They can be apart for even a day which is really sweet.

When talking about the positives one forgets the nightmare times, yes DS1 loved banging doors so cought DS2 finger in the door and he almost lost the top bit of the finger, DS1 pushed DS1 so hard when he didnt know how to play and share and his top lip split so 2 trips to A&E but live gets better as they grow up trust me....

They are 3 and 5 now. Since DS1 is delayed he is probably at age 3.5-4 overall developmentally taking into account speech, play skills, emotions...and since DS2 seem to be a tiny bit ahead for his age it makes them a perfect peer group friends.

I couldnt be happier and prouder of my boys!

growlybear Thu 30-Jun-11 09:03:14

My son is fantastic with his sister although it is difficult at times.But he is so patient with her and obviously they love each other very much.They really do have a special kind of bond.We don't use him as another carer but he will quite often do things of his own accord.He has a fantastic life.We give him loads of oppotunities.He goes to sea cadets three times a week and so is always busy doing things like sailing,expeditions,climbing and loads of competitions which has definately made him the nice young man he is doday.We always find time for him even its just talking about his day and WHEN our dd is on respite-thats another story-we try to do something special with him.

vjg13 Thu 30-Jun-11 09:39:08

I would echo lots of the above comments. My girls have a 5 year age gap, sometimes they are best friends sometimes not!

My younger daughter does have fantastic understanding of differences in others and has done from a very early age compared with some of her peers.

elliejjtiny Thu 30-Jun-11 10:28:58

It's a bit different for me because none of mine are NT. DS1 (5 at the w/e) has mild asd, DS2 (3) has mobility issues and ds3 (5m) has reflux and mild development delay. They have their moments as all siblings do but generally they support each other. If anyone questions why DS2 is still in a buggy/still in nappies/falls over a lot then DS1 will come out with a quick explanation in a tone of voice that says you make fun of my brother and you'll face my wrath! If people start talking to DS1 and DS1 hides behind me, DS2 will turn on the charm and get them to talk to him instead (although that might be more for his benefit than ds1's!) When DS3 pukes and DS2 is closer than me DS2 is there with the baby wipes and the muslin cloth mopping him up.

Starchart Thu 30-Jun-11 10:33:09

My almost 3yr old old is a precoscious, highly advanced social manipulator. She is academically and socially around 2 years advanced.

This is because of the work that we do with our ds. We don't hothouse her, but she sits in on most of the 'therapy' and we try to include her if she wants to be.

Having an older brother with a statement means that we can get him into the best school FOR HER and she can follow on the sibling rule.

Families come in all shapes and sizes. Having NT siblings does not guarantee you a good functional relationship.


bochead Thu 30-Jun-11 11:24:40

It's now as an adult raising an sen child I realise the benefits of having an sen sister. Our family is closer than most as we were trained from an early age to work as a team (as kids to support sis). I have better links with my extended family than most as my parents made sure when I was a teen I had good people to go to at that those times when they were too busy to give me much attention. Those extended family members now know me well enough to encourage me in the fight to get DS support.

I've learnt as a child not to give up and that you CAN make a difference to a child's outcomes if you fight HARD. My sis was never expected to get any exams but she's now a graduate, runs her own business and will NOT let me give up on my son even if I wanted to. She also has the ability to empathise with him and give him emotional support when I'm feeling too drained after a meeting sometimes.

I learnt tolerance, acceptance, compassion and that the world isn't fair at a young age. I also learnt responsibility, and that you should never stop trying. I think it's given me a far greater inner strength to withstand the utter crap the local authority has thrown my way this year than I would have had if I hadn't had the priviledge of watching my parents with my sister. I KNOW he can make summat of his life , given the chance and am not prepared to "settle".

The only potential downside I can think of is that I think I would have become a mother myself sooner had I not had my lil sis around. However that is something I can never say for sure, and I do think the experience has made me a better mother. I adore my sis, and am very grateful to have her in my life, (though I still want my fave lil black dress back!)

zen1 Thu 30-Jun-11 13:32:09

DS1 (8 and I think NT, but lots of Aspergers traits) and DS2 (5 - NT) play a lot together and have lots of fun together. DS3 (2.6 S&L delay, sensory processing problems and hypermobile) is often left out, though he loves it if they do include him. DS1 is quite protective of DS3 and will play with him sometimes, but DS2 often ignores him and perceives him as "the baby". TBH, both older DSs are pretty clueless that DS3 has SN. They don't really realise he isn't like other 2 year olds apart from the late, late walking.

I do think DS2 resents the amount of time I spend with DS3 though.

drivemecrazy63 Thu 30-Jun-11 13:46:57

ive two other NT children to DS3 (asd) the older ones are teens and it has become somewhat strained of late as neither really want to play with ds anymore and he doesnt understand why not, there teens and want their space and privacy DS1 is 15 so even though he obviously doesnt want to play will occasionally help ds with video games or with lego but he has limited patience with ds3 who's 11 ( i'd age him at about 7/8 really) dd who a teen has much more patience with him and is quite motherly, the boys fight and argue a lot as ds1 wants to be right he usually is right of course but doesnt get why we dont get angry with ds3 for doing things or saying the wrong things its really driving me nuts ds1 is so inteligent but acts so jealous he just cant see that we do tell ds1 when he does something wrong but cant see why we dont punish him as we did both of them at that age weve all the litterature in the world for him to read up on ASD which ive offered and tried to make ds3 read up on so he wouldnt be so angry at his little bro but he just wont having said all that they all three are very protective of each other and will not allow anyone to say or do anything bad to each other although they think its ok to hit /shout at each other just so long as no1 out there does it typical sibling stuff i know but amplified due to ds3s reactions , when will they realise i have no choice to treat him a bit different he just is different not getting away from it

EllenJaneisnotmyname Thu 30-Jun-11 14:26:52

My DS2 (11) with ASD is sandwiched between NT DS1 who's 13 and quirky DS3 (who's 9 today!) It's meant that it's hard to leave DS2 out, he's got a role model in DS1, and competition with DS3. One to pull him up and one to push him up! Also DS1 and 3 have a 'normal' sibling relationship, so they get a bit (I won't say the best) of both worlds.

DS1 has become (apart from teenage sarcasm!) a really tolerant and inclusive lad. DS3, however, is more jealous and doesn't understand why DS2 gets the breaks sometimes. I think this is partly down to their characters, rather than anything else. It's been a bit hard seeing DS3 overtaking DS2 in lots of areas, that doesn't seem right or fair, but inevitable, unfortunately.

I don't think DS1 or 3 have missed out that much. We try to keep things as normal as possible, and not pander to DS2 all the time. Have to sometimes, of course. Schooling has been a bit tricky. DS2 went to DS1's primary school, just because DS1 was settled there, so maybe not the best choice for DS2. Now with secondary, the best school for DS3 which I could have got DS2 in on his statement, is crap with SEN. sad The best school for SEN doesn't have a sibling policy.

On the whole, having 3 has worked for us, but if DS3 had been further down into the spectrum it would have been rather different!

zzzzz Thu 30-Jun-11 15:01:58

just over 2 years between my ds [6 language delayed and unusual but no dx] and my youngest dd#3[4]. They are the best of friends [thought hey do fight as well], there bond is stronger than with my other children, she is his best therapist and he is her dearest playmate. I worry that it won't last, but so far nothing could be further than your worries [which I shared at that stage]. Just love them both for who they are, the rest will come.

chocjunkie Thu 30-Jun-11 17:18:13

thanks for all your reassuring replies smile

BialystockandBloom Thu 30-Jun-11 20:38:10

I have ds (recently turned 4yo, ASD) and dd (19 months, nt). Until relatively recently it was hard - he was very jealous of the attention she got, and was threatened by her when she got mobile (first crawling, then walking) and able to 'interfere' with him and his toys. During these times we had a bit of a problem with aggression towards her (hitting, snatching etc) though nothing really serious.

In the past couple of months they have become fantastic playmates. He is starting to see that she can be fun (lots of chasing games, hide & seek and general silliness), so is much more interested in her in a positive way, and she is becoming a bit of a partner in crime hmm. I can only see it getting better and better the older she gets, and actually she will become a really useful role model for him. Like star she has been party to his ABA therapy for a year and she is pretty advanced in many ways so in some ways at a similar level.

She has obviously adored him from day one. She does copy lots he does, so we have to do a lot of diversion if she picks up inappropriate behaviour (eg he plays around with words a lot, often if he is trying to avoid something like a request, and silliness at mealtimes). We also have to watch out that ds is not using dd as an egger-on in dangerous behaviour (eg bouncing on sofas - he is thrilled to have an ally in stuff like this grin)

I am sure there will come a time where she starts to really overtake him (in fact her imaginative play is better now than his has ever been naturally), and she may not tolerate/adore him quite as much, but cross that bridge when we come to it.

Don't worry now - concentrate on helping dd1 with s&l. Treat them both as you would have otherwise done. They will no doubt get on as many sisters do - lots of arguing, fighting, but also sharing and a fantastic bond.

sphil Thu 30-Jun-11 21:35:26

In my experience it changes over the years. Ds1 and Ds2 (who has autism) are only 16 months apart. It used to upset me hugely that they took very little notice of each other as toddlers (Ds1 has dyspraxia and is probably on the 'quirky' end of the spectrum). As they got older, they became much closer - Ds1 is protective of DS2 and helps him out quite a bit, and Ds2 is very physically affectionate to his brother. At the moment (they're 10 and 8.5) their relationship is going through a difficult stage- having been very passive DS2 is starting to flex his muscles both literally and figuratively - and he sometimes hits out at DS1. Ds1 gets very angry about this and is resentful of the fact that he can't hit him back. We've talked about how it's natural to feel like hitting him back ( Ds1 says it's ' an ancient primeval instinct', which tells you something about what sort of boy he is smile) but how it wouldn't help.

Ds1 is very popular with the teachers at school, many of whom put his maturity, tolerance and general all round niceness down to the fact he has a brother with SN. I'm not sure he wouldn't have been like it anyway (PFB!) but I do think it's had an impact.

Interestingly, although I often mourn the fact that DS1 doesn't have an NT sibling, he doesn't feel that way at all. He has often said that he wouldn't make DS2 unautistic if he had the power. (Whereas I'd do it like a shot)

nikos Fri 01-Jul-11 18:39:45

Bochead-your sister sounds amazing! Can I ask what Sen she has?

janx Fri 01-Jul-11 20:50:48

What does NT stand for?

chocjunkie Fri 01-Jul-11 21:26:03

for neurotypical - the average brain grin

janx Sat 02-Jul-11 09:15:25

Ah I see - not National Trust then grin

Jaspants Sat 02-Jul-11 13:31:49

My eldest has ASD - he's just hitting the teen years, and my youngest is 7.

Positives - they both love and protect one another fiercely, but like all siblings, fight like mad. She is very tolerant, kind and socially well developed as she has shared in all the social learning that we have done with him. He in turn helps her academically, teaching her all manner of --weird- things.

Negatives - she is often disapointed when we go somewhere and he sees something that freaks him out, he has a meltdown and we have to go home. It breaks my heart to let her down like this, so DH and I try to give them time on their own so that she can do stuff that he finds tricky.

Maryz Sat 02-Jul-11 13:51:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

colditz Sat 02-Jul-11 14:11:35

"My almost 3yr old old is a precoscious, highly advanced social manipulator"

yes, this sums up ds2, who is now five. Ds2is also excellent at saying exactly why he is pissed off, and what he would like to happen instead.

This is because all his life, he's heard "Ds1, don't do that to bebecause it will hurt me, please keep your hands next to you!"


"Ds1, I want you to stop making that noiseplease, it is hurting my ears. Whistle somewhere else please"

And now I hear him talking to hispeers in the playground like that, and it's actually very effective. He'll raise his voice3 and say "X, DON'T push me like that, you might hurt me, so play NICELY or go somehwere else!"

colditz Sat 02-Jul-11 14:14:53

Ds1 has learned imaginative play at a rate 6months behind Ds2, bcause Ds2 is hypersociable and MUST have someone to play with/talk to at all times, so he practically bullies his older brother into at least looking like he is playing imaginatively. Ds2 stops his brother withdrawing into CompuWorld.

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