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Helping Siblings Cope
Whether a sibling has special needs or is hospitalized for a short term, there are many basic strategies families can use to support their unique needs.

In addition to rivalry and peer interactions typical of the sibling relationships, sibs continue to benefit from modeling and creativity for play interactions.

Parents can support sibs by providing consistency and praise.
  • Allow them to be involved in discussions and decisions if they are interested when appropriate.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with honesty.
  •  Provide sibs age appropriate information early and often.
  •  Acknowledge all of their feelings – positive, negative, or ambivalent.
  •  Give them their own special time.
  •  Encourage peer support. Do you know other families with children with similar – or even different – special needs? If so, your typically developing children may be natural peers.  Are you visiting the hospital frequently? Other families may also have other children in the family. Encourage interaction when appropriate. Reach out to online sibling groups, such as those supported at www.siblingsupport.org
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