Having a sibling with disabilities or special needs can be trying for children. They have a hard time understanding why their guardian is spending more time with their special needs sibling. While it can be trying to have a sibling with a disability, I believe there are more positives then negatives. It is important for all siblings to remember that this is a gift.  It teaches you to have patience and empathy for people who are not like you, and it teaches you how to think in different ways.

All that being said, it still can be hard coming to terms with having a sibling with a disability. The most important thing to remember is you are not alone. It may feel this way at times but your family is going through the same thing and there are other kids everywhere dealing with it too. There were a few ways that help siblings come to terms this. The one that really helped me was going to Sibshops. These are workshops and camps where siblings who have a brother or a sister with special needs come and are encouraged to express the challenges and triumphs. These workshops were also a fun time for me because I was able to make friends with other kids who understood what I was going through.

Me, my little sister and Nana (1993)

Another way to help siblings is finding something you both like and can do together. Through the performing arts, my sister and I found something to bond over. It was something just for the two of us and it helped us grow closer together. Many arts organizations are working toward integrating special needs people into their programming. KidsQuest is doing this through Low Sensory Evening, where children with sensory sensitivities can visit the museum. I encourage siblings to attend this with their parents and siblings. It may end up being something everyone can enjoy together.

Hopefully this helps all siblings know they are not alone and there are kids just like you. The arts really helped me bond with my sister and I hope this will give you some ideas of how to bond with your special needs sibling too.

Me and my little sister (2016)