Posted in Developmental Disorders, Siblings

Autism

We recently found out that our 4 yr old shows several key markers for autism and needs to be tested. His older sister is 7 and constantly messes with him and makes him break down and cry. How do you explain it to an older sibling so that they understand?

  • Joe
    Jul 11, 2018

    I wish I knew - we are dealing with the same thing right now - hang in there it will get better

  • Scarlett
    Jul 11, 2018

    I hope so! Some days are harder than others and it's easy to forget to be understanding when we get frustrated

  • Joe
    Jul 11, 2018

    Oh I completely understand we have had a hard time lately but we are hanging in there

  • Scarlett
    Jul 11, 2018

    They are both my boyfriends kids and they haven't even lived with us a year yet. We are trying to move into something bigger so this is a lot on top of everything else

  • Joe
    Jul 11, 2018

    It is a lot dealing with children on the spectrum. It creates turmoil sometimes in the family. I know it’s hard.

  • Stacey
    Jul 11, 2018

    Start by explaining to her that the way his brain works is different then the rest of you. And while we all have our differences, this can make things she thinks are easy much more difficult for him or he might act in ways that don’t make sense to her but make sense to him. I’ve also found that giving siblings things they can be responsible for/help their sibling with can improve their relationship. But also make sure you hear her out. Could it be that due to his needs she’s feeling like she doesn’t get enough attention? This wouldn’t be anyone’s fault, it’s just the reality of the situation. But I would try to make sure she has her own space that is private for her and that time is carved out during the week for one on one attention for her from the adults in her life as well. Good luck with everything. Hopefully some of this is helpful.

  • Scarlett
    Jul 11, 2018

    Well we are about to move and she is going to have her own bedroom so that will give her her space. They have only lived with us about 9 months. Their mother lives in California and decided she couldn't do it and signed over physical custody. It's a lot of changes for her all at once especially at 7! One think I will say about him being autistic is that he has adjusted to the move a lot easier than her in the sense of not feeling abandoned by their mom.

  • Sarah
    Jul 12, 2018

    There is an episode of the PBS show Arthur that has a great introduction to kids about Autism it is call “When Carl Met George” the whole episode is on YouTube for free. This might be a good starting point for talking to your daughter AND your son about it!

  • Manuela
    Jul 14, 2018

    Have you tried doing sensory play together?

  • Joe
    Jul 14, 2018

    What kind of sensory play ideas do you have?

  • Derek C
    Jul 15, 2018

    We told our 6 yo about her 9 yo sister’s ASD recently and the truth is, she didn’t care about the labels. They don’t mean much. There are great videos on YouTube to watch as a family to understand. We try to reinforce the need for empathy. Hopefully the love she has for him will take over.

  • Joe
    Jul 15, 2018

    What videos can you recommend

  • Derek C
    Jul 16, 2018

    Here’s one. https://youtu.be/6fy7gUIp8Ms there are also others if you do a search for “explaining autism to kids”

  • Joe
    Jul 17, 2018

    Derek C. - thank you

  • Bonnie
    Jul 25, 2018

    What I found that helped us a few years back was reading books about having a sibling wt autism. It got easier over time.

  • Jordyn
    Aug 01, 2018

    If they are young enough you just need to explain that they're actions aren't exceptable. She can see That she is causing him to become upset and that's not okay, even if he gets upset easier. Explain that you have to work with people and that you have to communicate and work through things.

  • V
    Aug 11, 2018

    Hi Scarlett, sorry you have to go through this tough situation. I’m a behavioral therapist for kids with autism. I’ve worked with families who has been stuck in this situation. You can always start off by telling the sister that because he’s younger than her it’s taking him some time to learn things. Maybe even suggest that she help him! Everyone learns at a different pace.