When you have one child who has been diagnosed with autism and another child who isn’t, finding the right balance in attending to both children can be quite tricky. There is often a tendency to focus your attention on your autistic child much to the dismay of your other child.
And because you know that your autistic child needs you more than your other child, it is easy to assume that the other child will understand. It is easy to assume that everyone in the family understands the needs and requirements of caring for the autistic child. There may even be times when we demand such understanding from everyone regardless of what the situation is. Worse, there may even be times when you get mad at the other child for trying to get your attention when you are clearly very busy with the other child.
And while it is true that your other child may understand that his sibling is special, you must never forget that your other child also requires your attention. Just like your autistic child, your other child also needs your love. He also needs to spend quality time with mom and dad the same way that all children do.
To avoid getting your other child feel left out, it is important that you spend quality time with him as well. Schedule some time with him alone so he does not feel neglected. The last thing you would want is to have your other child hate his sibling because of all the attention you are giving your autistic child.
It is also a good idea to try and include him in the activities that you do with your autistic child. The more interaction he has with his sibling, the better the chances of him understanding the situation. The important thing is to not let your other child feel left out. What you want to avoid is for your other child to start acting out in order to get your attention.
Be aware that it is not uncommon for siblings of autistic children to develop psychological problems in their effort to get the attention of their parents. When parents unconsciously neglect the other child, the child quickly learns that the best way to attract their parents attention is by having some problems of their own. You don’t want this to happen. You just don’t need this additional stress.