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Support for neurotypical siblings of autistic children


New Member
Hello everyone!
I am currently working on my bachelor's thesis that focuses on how neurotypical children who have a brother or sister with an autism diagnosis can be optimally supported in their needs using a toolkit (collection of different resources and elements). The children should thereby consciously receive the attention of their parents while using this toolkit together.

At this stage, I still need more detailed insights into the specific needs and challenges of neurotypical siblings.
I would be really grateful if there are some parents here who have a neurotypical and autistic child and could take the time to share their experiences and views with me in my survey! Psychologists, teachers, therapists etc. who have experience with neurotypical siblings of autistic children would be helpful as well.
Thank you!🙂

Alright, I have an ASD younger child (6 years old, ASD2 but not cognitively disabled) and a NT (10 years old). I couldn't get past the first page because I didn't feel like the premise was true in the first place - that the NT is starved of attention. It's also hard to place myself in a hypothetical because I have ASD myself.

The ASD child does require more therapy, yes. And the ASD child does require more mental energy, especially when on outings full of "triggers" that will result in unsafe behaviors for himself and others.

But the ASD child also wants a lot less attention and rarely requests things. He's also quiet and it's mostly to prevent disaster that we pay attention to him. So the NT child dominates ... well, every interaction. The reason why we get into situations like going to theme parks with an ASD child is because the NT child is wanting all these "normal kid" experiences and we feel like it's good to expose the ASD kid to that.

In the NT-ASD sibling dynamic, a couple of things stand out to me:

1. The NT kid talks the ASD kid into giving him all the toys or food or letting him have all the turns or whatever, and the ASD kid has no idea that the NT kid is bullying him. Very few NT siblings would put up with that. We try and catch the behavior when we see it, but with zero pushback from the ASD kid, it's hard.

2. The NT kid has no idea why we sometimes let the ASD kid off easier on behavior. We have to explain over and over that the ASD kid simply does not remember norms or rules and his brain works differently. For example, when he's sensory seeking and destroying stuff in the process, it's not about being oppositional - it's almost like a trance/stim. He frequently cries when he's done and realizes that he's done something he can't fix. That doesn't make it OK for him to destroy stuff, but it's very different than smashing things in anger.
My brother was really NT but somehow got diagnosed with Asperger's in his 30s. I won't go into all the reasons why and everything. My half-sister (who didn't always live with us) has learning difficulties but was actually a well-behaved child and would happily go off and entertain herself in her tidy, organised bedroom. I was the awful one, often seeking attention by behaving badly and throwing tantrums. I think it's because my mother and me clashed.
I think my brother felt quite left out and so often spent time with his friends where he got heard more, as I did take up a lot of attention at home. When I was age 4 or 5 I always wanted to be carried or holding my mum or dad's hand. My brother and sister often refused. So I believe I was the most affectionate child out of the 3 of us.
But my mother didn't have to watch me or anything, as I was a sensible child and had good sense of danger. So I could play outside and was very careful and aware.
In fact I remember when I was about 8 I was playing in the trees not far from my house, when a car drew up with two men inside that I'd never seen before. The driver unrolled his window and said something to me. I wasn't sure what he'd said but I had a feeling he could be a kidnapper or something, so I just turned around and ran straight home.

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