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Talking about ASD with family and friends

Once you have come to terms with your child’s diagnosis, you will also want to consider how you tell your other children, members of your family, your friends and the child with ASD themselves.

Siblings will often find things difficult too. They may find it difficult to understand the behaviours of their brother or sister with ASD. They may feel rejected if their sibling does not want to play with them, or does not respond to their social advances in the way they would like.

Sometimes other children can feel as if you are not giving them as much attention, or even as if you do not love them as much. Children, especially younger ones can find this difficult to explain to parents so may show their feelings in the way they behave. Sometimes other children start to behave differently as a means of securing their parent’s attention.

Providing siblings with information about autism will depend on their age and level of understanding. There are different ways to give information and this will depend on the needs of the individual child. For example, some will prefer to read a book; others would rather watch a video, whilst others will be happy to discuss it face-to-face with you or someone else. It may be helpful to provide them with a basic overview and then answer questions as and when they arise, giving simple and specific information.

“Understandably, when a child is diagnosed the thoughts and advice flow to the parents, but people do have a tendency to forget about the siblings and how it can impact upon them too. There are many difficulties that can be encountered, however these are equally measured with the good times and memories that can be created.” - [Sibling]

“Aside from what can seem as the bad part of living with an autistic sibling there can also be good times, just like living with any other person.” — [Sibling]

Top tips for support - click to expand

  • Support for siblings

  • Need more information for siblings?

  • Support for families and friends

  • Support for talking to your child about their diagnosis

  • Need more information when talking to your child about their autism?

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