How do parents explain to their other children that their brother or sister has autism? When a child in the family has autism, it affects the whole family. Parents who have to care for a child with autism are often met with extraordinary time constraints, leaving little time to give other children in the family what they need. In most situations, the other children are most likely aware that their brother or sister is different, so it is best to be honest and give the child information that is appropriate for their age level. This often initiates a feeling of responsibility in the non-autistic child and also encourages them to understand and care for their autistic sibling. Something very interesting that I found was that younger siblings are often very understanding and accepting of their autistic siblings. They often find ways to communicate and play with their autistic sibling.
However, older children often struggle with feelings of anger and embarrassment because of their autistic sibling. They become frustrated by having to make sacrifices for their siblings and may feel embarrassed towards their behavior. This is bound to occur but it is best to work through it and many siblings are able to get over these feelings with time. In fact, many siblings of children with autism often have a special connection with one another. Compared to other children their age, they tend to be more mature, more compassionate, and have developed coping skills which will help them for the rest of their life. Keep in mind though that correlation does not infer causation but there is a strong suggestion that siblings of autistic individuals tend to have these characteristics.It would be interesting to compare the dynamic of autistic sibling relationships with those of conventional siblings.