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How to help a sibling of a child with ASD?

(9 Posts)
Tutu1000 Tue 08-Mar-16 18:14:44

I have 2 ds's. Ds1 was diagnosed with Asperger's last year. He is 10, although I have suspected some form of autism since he was 2. So I am trying to deal with ds1 and have actually recieved quite a lot of good advice and help from a few autism support services we have in our area.

However I feel that Ds2 who is 7 is actually the one who suffers most. Ds1 takes up a lot of my time. Whenever I try to do something with ds2, ds1 will come and try to spoil it in some way, either by demanding my attention, just behaving in a silly manner, making constant noise (I think this is part of his stimming behaviours) or trying to take over. Whatever I seem to do to try and deal with this behaviour means the focus is back on ds1 again and poor ds2 gets left to sort himself out.

If I am not around the pair of them to supervise, then quite often ds1 will annoy ds2 by either just touching him when he doesn't want to be touched, or taking his toys because ds2 isn't playing with them properly and ds1 can suggest a way to do it better. This ends up in them fighting and me having to split them up. They can not be left alone in a room unsupervised.

I'm not sure what to do for the best. I do send them to their rooms, both for punishment and also for safety, but it just seems wrong ds2 having to go somewhere else so he doesn't get bothered, or ds1 gets excluded because of behaviour that he can't help.

Ds2 is currently being told off a lot at school and I think some of it is due to how ds1's behaviour affects him at home. I tried to talk to him this afternoon when we got back from school, but ds1 wouldn't leave us alone and in the end I gave up and dealt with him. I will talk to ds2 tonight once dp is home and can sort out ds1, but I think the moment will be gone.

Sorry for the long post, but I would be so grateful for any suggestions for how I can try and deal with things to help ds2. So far all the help and advice I've recieved has been to help ds1, but he's not aware of any problems yet ds2 is.

zzzzz Tue 08-Mar-16 20:24:23

My feeling is that this is par for the course with any siblings but obviously the AS turns up the volume on that for you. The best way to stop bad behaviour (which is what your ds1 is displaying IMO) is to modify it rather than try to say "stop doing that". You want to teach your child to do something more productive than "annoying my brother".

I find my children's behaviour quickly corrects if THEY are inconvenienced by the bad behaviour. (eg a child that picks his/her nose and is required to go all the way upstairs to wash their hands every time will soon learn to stop or hide their activity.) I have one child that is very high maintenance and very antagonistic towards siblings. I will admit that I find it extremely tedious and sometimes it is a real struggle not to lose my temper at the constant goading so you have my every sympathy.

I would suggest you start collecting jobs that the children do in your house (this is a good idea anyway) and that you get both of them used to performing each task independently. Here that would be, sweeping floor and using dustpan and brush, tidying room, polishing windows/telly, hovering, loading and unloading the dishwasher, laying and lighting the fire, feeding chickens, feeding the cat, making tea/toast/snacks etc etc. I find it is quite useful to have "kit" for each job so we have lots of little stashes of things that make the jobs more desirable (eg squirty bottle for cleaning, matches, ketchup for polishing metal etc etc.) Make them desirable and accessible (this is a Montessori trick) so the kids want to have a go and (this is key) can do it all independently. (nb I am not a saintly yummy mummy this shit works!).

So if you want to talk to ds2, you give ds1 a job. It is very important that the jobs are NOT seen as a punishment OR as an excuse to get 1:1 time with the other. They need to come throughout the time but you can manipulate useful space with the child you need to talk to and provide separation when children are squabbling. I find they learn to manage better in each others space.

I'm sorry not a very high tech idea but it works for us.

Tutu1000 Tue 08-Mar-16 23:21:24

Thank you zzzzz, it's just very difficult to get ds1 to do things independently, but it is something we are trying very hard to do, but there are some jobs that ds1 likes to do and therefore he will make more of an effort to do without calling for my help every 30 seconds.

The downstairs of our house is open plan which can make it harder to keep the children away from each other, hence why I sometimes feel like the only option is to send one of them upstairs to there bedroom.

I will get myself more organised so that I can do your suggestion and have a mental list of jobs that I can suggest ds1 does, if ds2 comes home and needs to talk to me. Thank you for your help.

zzzzz Tue 08-Mar-16 23:31:02

The trick is to make it intriguing. I spend ridiculous amounts of money in £shops getting stuff for them to use. I write lists of things that might appeal blush

2boysnamedR Wed 09-Mar-16 01:18:24

Do you have a young carers support group locally? My eldest goes to one. It's taken years there before he got to do some talking therapy and resilience sessions.

It's great for him because it reinforces that he is a carer, that his brothers are hard work but ultimately don't choose to be hard work. He goes and loves it. He never tells me what he does there. I kind of like that as its just for him. His caring role ( which no one wanted him to have but it was forced on him) his feelings, not mine or his brothers.

imip Wed 09-Mar-16 09:42:42

I have exactly the same problem too! Dc1 is 9, dc2 7. Dc 2 has ASD, but dc1 also has a painful form of Jhs. I have 2 younger DCs also and I struggle with time when dc2 is so difficult and takes so much of my time. Also dc2 is starting to really come to terms with her ASD and actually she really needs me more. So, I developed a very naughty plan, and on Monday dd1 ditched school for the day and we spent the day together - I love bombed her!!! I think I will do it once a term. It's not a solution to our problems, but nice to think that there is a special day once in a while that we can spend together without the stresses of siblings...

peppajay Wed 09-Mar-16 10:17:59

My son has aspergers and at home it is all about him. If things go swimmingly he is fine but as soon as anything goes wrong all hell will break lose. My DD who is 2 years older will often wind him up because she knows she will get my attention, as I will tell her off for winding him up and I sometimes lose my temper but then she shouts back and I find we are at loggerheads with each other. Does your son go to or have the ability to try and fit in at any extra cirrocular after school activity?? I know some kids with ASD this isnt possible but someone told me to try beavers for my son I almost laughed at them. An ASD child at beavers running riot and causing total havoc?? Well he tried it and he loves it and he is soooooo well behaved as yet a year on there has never been an issue of any bad behaviour. His pack is run by an TA who works with autistic children at a special school so running a beaver pack is a piece of cake compared to her day job. It is run to a very tight schedule and routine and he excells there. He will be going up to cubs soon and although the transition will be hard it is run in the same way as the beavers so hoping he will do just as well there. Once a week he is out the house for 75 mins and this is mine and DD's time and this has made a huge difference to her. I make sure we do something she wants watch a programme on iplayer do a bit of school homework where I can give her 1:1 attention and she revels in it as she has never had this as has always been about her brother. If not cubs maybe look at boys brigade or a youth club.

runningouttaideas Thu 10-Mar-16 14:12:28

My DS goes to cubs too and he loves it there. As peppa has said about her DS, mine is really well behaved too in fact it's a relief to hear it from the leader every week tbh. My Dd gets the option to visit her nan or stay with me and do some stuff.

troutsprout Fri 11-Mar-16 12:41:02

Ds went to a social skills / social outings group ran by crossroads charity. This gave me time to focus on his younger sister
Perhaps there is something like this in your area?

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