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Special Needs Siblings

Rebecca Shayler-Adams by Rebecca Shayler-Adams Additional Needs

Rebecca Shayler-Adams

Rebecca Shayler-Adams

We are just a typical family muddling along our day to day lives. 4 kids, 1 with autism, 1 with an unknown neuromuscular condition

Recently I have been struggling, how can I give each of my children their fair share of attention?

How can I show each of them they are just as loved and cherished as their siblings?

I spend so much time with my baby’s physiotherapy, going to hospital appointments, trying out new equipment to make my baby's life easier.

I cheer at her inch stones and cheer her on as she struggles through life. I feel bad as sometimes when I am struggling to feed her, struggling to dress her, doing her exercises, I have to tell the older children to wait.

Sometimes due to so much going on I completely forget I have told them to wait and I never do see what they can now do on their bike.

I look at my boy and his autism and realise how much of our day is focused on making sure his routine is the same or that he feels comfortable.

I see that when he is having a violent meltdown my daughter must take her brother away to a different room so that they don’t get hurt, or they don’t get scared.

I realise that we get sensory equipment for him that no one can touch as it’s his calm down equipment yet the other children don’t get anything.

I look at my other children.

I feel sorry that even their birthdays aren’t all about them as we still have to do exercises on our baby, as we still have to do some sort of routine otherwise we will have to face a meltdown.

I look at them and realise the struggle they must go through every day, knowing that their siblings need this extra attention, but not truly understanding why they don’t get it.

I still remember vividly my daughter crying and saying, ‘Why can’t I have a normal brother?!’

This broke my heart -  I felt like I have failed not only her but also her brother.

I make sure bedtimes we spend time one to one, where each child can tell me about their day, where they can show me what they made, where we can just snuggle on the sofa doing nothing but watching cartoons, if that’s all they want to do.

I tell them when I tuck them in at night how special they all are.

I just never realised how hard it is not only for us parents but also to the siblings living with a special needs child.

At the moment I am trying to make them know they are all equally as loved by me and my husband, and that if they ever need me I will be there for them in a heartbeat.


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