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Is this behaviour from a sibling to be expected

(5 Posts)
baboos Wed 13-Jul-11 13:09:56

I have 3.5 year old twin sons, non ID. Currently one son is being assessed for ASD, process started a few months ago. Second son has always been spirited to say the least, but it has never crossed my mind that he needed to be assessed too, their pre-school think the same. Just recently though his behaviour has taken a downward spiral , he has taken to serious bouts of crying and tantrums when told no, hitting me, shouting at me, generally doing things that his brother does, without the added learning issues, that were red flags both to me and his pre-school. I'm now questioning whether he has some issues too.

My attention is heavily weighted towards the son that is being asessed, since I can't really take my eyes off him for any lenght of time, due to him putting himself in danger from his various antics. I do appreciate this and I try really hard to not let this happen all the time, nevertheless it does. I am now concerned that he is copying his brother to get my attention, his key worker at pre school has informed me that his behaviour has started to deteriorate with her too, and without any prompting from me, she suggested that he was copying his brother as a way to get attention.

I'm really struggling to keep my head above water, DH works away a lot, so I'm on my own a lot of the time.......I adore my boys, never believed we would have a child, let alone two, we had multiple cycles of IVF to achieve them, but feel like I'm failing them for not coping.

So my question is, is this behaviour normal for siblings of SN children, and does anyone have any experience or advise on how to tackle this.

zzzzz Wed 13-Jul-11 13:20:42

My boys are 6, IVF, one nt one no dx but language/communication problems. Yes exactly what happened with us at about the same time. Still does to a certain extent, but there is a vast difference between copying and living. We have found things much easier since we decided to put ds1 [sn] in the year below at school, things just make sense to both of them now and I can say "because boys in year 1 don't need help going to the loo" etc. It does help getting ds2 [nt] to help ds1, they love each other but it is a difficult relationship. It is getting easier.
I know you will have thought about how hard it is to be the twin of someone with sn [it's hard not to if you are the Mum], but I think it needs to be pointed out to people. Certainly I stress it very hard to teachers and criticizers.....

baboos Wed 13-Jul-11 14:20:24

zzzzz......Thank you, at the end of a very long hard day, I was getting into a habit of questioning my own judgement, and I know that sometimes I treat nt son as I would an older sibling, but then remember that they are the same age and perhaps I am expecting too much from him. In a way, I worry about him more than I do sn son, silly as that sounds. I just don't want him to grow up with too much pressure on his shoulders, and you are right of course in that, he doesn't yet understand why his twin gets the lion share of the attention from mum, and I must always be mindful of this at all times.

It was interesting to read that you have delayed one of your sons at school, my boys do not start until 2012, but their pre-school manager has already suggested I think about delaying starting sn son until the year after......have been adament I didn't want to do this, more from sn sons perspective, but listening to your views I will have to re think this.

zzzzz Wed 13-Jul-11 15:59:35

For us the separate year thing was hard. In my heart of hearts I wanted them in the same classroom trotting in as equals [pathetic mother]. The year below works for ds1, he is very bright but his language is so behind that he is better playing with less sophisticated children. At Primary school there is very little difference in the content of what is taught so actually they are neck and neck academically [well ds1 is the better reader but in the year behind and not talking well hmm, ds2 is full of chat but totally scatty and very boy IYKWIM]. It is always a balance in my mind, on the one hand I want ds2 to have a carefree childhood, but on the other hand will it actually be worse if he gets the weight dropped on him later. I have come to the conclusion this is my problem not theirs, they are fine with who is who and how it is. grin It is noticeably easier if ds2 is part of helping ds1 cope [for instance he will run to help pick up that special toy or swap plates etc], I praise him highly for this and he seems to get a great deal of self esteem from it.

I chose a school with a nursery attached so ds1 went to the nursery in the same building [from there point of view they were both at school]. One thing that really did help when they started nursery was I had days when they were home alone with me [so I had 1.1 with each of them]. I used to take the stay at home boy swimming, so I went twice a week, but it was very helpful in giving them some really concentrated time. I think one did Mon to Thurs and one did Tues to Fri.

I do find that people tend to be harder on my nt boy than they would normally. They seem to save all the criticism for him as criticizing ds1 would be "cruel" [grr]. Actually both of them can be sweet and both of them can be infuriating!

At 3 things were very much harder. ds1 is now potty trained, reading, kind, able to make himself understood most of the time....we are happy and I am worried but not terrified by the future [unless I have seen some horror on the telly!].

baboos Wed 13-Jul-11 20:26:50

zzzzzz........Thanks again, I'm pleased to hear that their relationship, and things in general have improved with age, gives me hope. We are still at the initial stages of assessments, so are still surrounded by so much uncertainty.

Unfortunately I have no 1 to 1 time with them, their pre-school is on site with the primary we are hoping to get them into (we are in catchment, in small village, so should be ok) it has an outstanding record, so is very popular, and is full to capacity, but I will speak with the manager to try and get one day seperate as you do, as this sounds very beneficial to you and your boys. I'm sure this will help us too, so thanks for that.

In our situation, my two will go straight from the pre-school to reception at primary, so not same building, just same site. I need to give this some more thought, we do however have plenty of time to see how things progress with him before I have to decide for sure what we will do.

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