Parenting never comes with a manual, and when your child has challenges,delays or disabilities, even if you did get a manual, it would be in a different language. So you, being the parent, struggle to learn this new language, while still learning your other children’s language and teaching your other children the language of their sibling. Delays, challenges, disabilities affect siblings also. How do you explain why brother gets to wear shoes in the house when no one else can? How do you explain why she doesn’t need to use a spoon or can say ‘bad’ words and the other one can’t? As parents, we try so hard to give our attention equally. To make sure fights are settled in a fair way. But when one kid has big problems or some attachments to obscure objects, fair goes out the window. As parents of special needs children, our attention goes to them first. It has to. We are an autism family. That means we have to make sure we have to have escape routes in place and matchbox cars on hand at all times. We also have other children who, through no fault of their own, don’t always get the attention they deserve or need.
These siblings never get the recognition they deserve. To the big sister who tickles only to be hit in the face. To the little brother who can never have his favorite toy. To all the siblings of special needs kids-this is for you.
For all those times you had to skip birthday parties or leave events at the drop of a hat even though you really wanted to stay, know that we see your sacrifice. It never goes unnoticed.
Many times, one child is trying to talk to me, and due to a meltdown, I simply cannot hear them. I am forced to ask them to wait and by the time the meltdown is complete, they don’t remember, or feel as if they were brushed off and what they want to say is unimportant. No words of reassurance can make that go away.Not often do the siblings of special needs children get the praise they deserve. They are superheroes. They sacrifice time, attention, toys, fairness, and so much more with little thought. It becomes their normal They adapt. They love their sibling. They will stand up for them and fight for them. But, they are still kids, so they will also fight with them, but they will encourage them more, they will cheer for them the loudest. Their pride in the accomplishments will mirror your own, because they saw your tears of frustration and all the hours of therapies. These siblings of special needs kids, are changing the world. No one will put a bully in their place quicker than a sibling of a special needs kid.
So, rest easy mammas and daddies. It feels like you are climbing Everest daily without ropes. But sometimes, the ropes come from the smallest people you’d least expect if to come from.