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Siblings of Children with Disabilities

Siblings of Children with Disabilities Share the Good Parts

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Siblings & Disabilities

Siblings Sharing Play in a Teepee

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Siblings living with a disabled brother or sister in a specially blended family have the same issues families without disabled children have and more. Brothers and sisters of disabled children go through the same relationship issues that typical families face, but the additional disability issues make family relationships more complex. There are many positive aspects of "specially blended families." Learn about the positive aspects of specially blended families and find out what good things non-disabled siblings have to share. Specially blended families with disabled and non-disabled children often represent some of the most positive family role models we can all admire. In the best situations:

  • Siblings are supportive of each other, regardless of disability.
  • Parents balance family activities to ensure that all members participate in something meaningful to them.
  • Likewise, parents ensure that all members make time to participate in activities that are important to the other members.
  • Parents maintain a healthy balance in nurturing themselves, their non-disabled children and sacrifices for the child with a disability.
  • The child with a disability gets the support he needs from parents, but parents strive to ensure the disability does not control all aspects of family life. Likewise, family life is not dominated by the needs of non-disabled members.
  • The family is proactive in anticipating and fulfilling its needs.
  • The family has a common core set of values, cultural traditions, religion, or other bonding philosophy that underlies every aspect of family life.
  • The family strives to solve problems with "win-win" solutions.
  • Family members consider family life a top priority.
  • Communication is open and encouraging.
  • Each member's differences are accepted and valued. Strengths are nurtured, and weaknesses are supported.
Children without Disabilities Share Positive Aspects of Specially Blended Families
  • Non-disabled siblings can accept the child with a disability and value her as a family member and demonstrate their acceptance at home and in public.
  • Siblings in specially blended families can celebrate each individual's achievements.
  • Siblings can always learn from and teach each other because they are familiar with each individual's strengths and weaknesses.
  • Siblings can provide important social support to each other at school and within the community.
  • Siblings can help each other participate fully in family activities and support each individual's unique interests as well.
  • In many cases, non-disabled siblings can provide important role modeling for behavior and academic skills for their sibling with a disability.
  • In just as many cases, siblings with disabilities can model appropriate behavior and skills for their non-disabled siblings.

More on Families with Disabled and Non-disabled Children

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