Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Stepmom Central Stepmom Central

Special needs SD bothering siblings...

Posted by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:18 PM
  • 13 Replies
So we moved to a new state recently and SS just started school. It's a new fresh start for him and he needed that. He was not happy at his old school and was isolating himself from other kids. Here in the new neighborhood he instantly made tons of friends and loves his new school. The only issue is his sister, SD14 who is special needs. She is very high energy but struggles to fit in socially. When she feels awkward she starts acting really odd because she just doesn't know how to act appropriately with others. But she has no friends and gets lonely so she entertains herself by bothering her brother and his friends. It got to the point where the boys will go back inside whe SD goes outside and it really embarrasses SS and he worries she will ruin his friendships. I'm totally at a loss what to do, and so is DH. Advice?
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:18 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
jules2boys
by Gold Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:29 PM

I don't keep up with your story (or most people's stories) well enough to know/remember what SD14s special needs are, how old SS is, and what therapy SD14 has been receiving for her special needs.  The move may have been great for SS but has it been great for SD?  Is she in therapy again in your new state?  When did/does school start? Would that help SD make some friends of her own?  Who (adult) is watching when SD gets bored and goes outside to annoy her brother and the neighbors?  Can the adult stop it?  Redirect SD14?  Help teach her how NOT to do this, other ways to spend her time so she's not so alone? 

How about involving her in some special needs groups/clubs so she meets friends her own age and abilities? 

I am NOT in this situation.  I have a dear friend who has one child with Downs.  For years she was 'annoying' and 'embarrassing' to be around (not her fault, she hadn't learned proper behavior yet).  My boys would try to get out of going over to their place but I just worked with them on how to respond (or ignore if that was the best solution) S when she behaved 'inappropriately' with them around. She's a hugger and had no knowledge of personal space.  She often undressed (fully) if she was uncomfortable.  The boys didn't have sisters then so they knew they shouldn't stare but didn't know what else to do, especially if she undressed THEN tried to give them a hug.  (they were all still single digit ages but still, I'd taught both my boys about how our bodies are private, etc.)

Eventually they learned and just took their ques from her siblings (the ones they went to play with).  Eventually she was put in group settings with others with special needs (not just DS but other SNs too). Eventually she learned personal boundaries, personal space, how long a hug should last (for anyone other than mom or dad), etc.  Now? No issues for anyone.  But it took a while.  Her siblings were never embarrassed by her, they just took on a 'teaching' role with her and were taught, by the therapist for her (PT) and their parents what to say, how to say it, and kept repeating it. 

Polkadotted
by Gold Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 9:56 PM
1 mom liked this

I would try to get her involved in other things and into a social skills group at school.

rocknmom85
by Silver Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:21 PM

SS is 10. SD is diagnosed on the autistic spectrum (high functioning) but is very social in a sense, she talks a lot but she just doesnt know how to fit in socially. She is also ODD and possibly bipolar. She is very aware of her actions adn has been taught how to behave appropriately but just says that she wants to be "herself" which is "weird" to most people, especially 10 yr old boys. The move has been mostly good for her I guess, she didnt have many friends before and was bullied a little in school. But the biggest thing is BM is bipolar and really doesnt want SD to live with her, sadly, even SD knows BM doesnt want her. SD starts school in a week and a half but is yet to have any therapy here. We are trying to get that rolling. 

Quoting jules2boys:

I don't keep up with your story (or most people's stories) well enough to know/remember what SD14s special needs are, how old SS is, and what therapy SD14 has been receiving for her special needs.  The move may have been great for SS but has it been great for SD?  Is she in therapy again in your new state?  When did/does school start? Would that help SD make some friends of her own?  Who (adult) is watching when SD gets bored and goes outside to annoy her brother and the neighbors?  Can the adult stop it?  Redirect SD14?  Help teach her how NOT to do this, other ways to spend her time so she's not so alone? 

How about involving her in some special needs groups/clubs so she meets friends her own age and abilities? 

I am NOT in this situation.  I have a dear friend who has one child with Downs.  For years she was 'annoying' and 'embarrassing' to be around (not her fault, she hadn't learned proper behavior yet).  My boys would try to get out of going over to their place but I just worked with them on how to respond (or ignore if that was the best solution) S when she behaved 'inappropriately' with them around. She's a hugger and had no knowledge of personal space.  She often undressed (fully) if she was uncomfortable.  The boys didn't have sisters then so they knew they shouldn't stare but didn't know what else to do, especially if she undressed THEN tried to give them a hug.  (they were all still single digit ages but still, I'd taught both my boys about how our bodies are private, etc.)

Eventually they learned and just took their ques from her siblings (the ones they went to play with).  Eventually she was put in group settings with others with special needs (not just DS but other SNs too). Eventually she learned personal boundaries, personal space, how long a hug should last (for anyone other than mom or dad), etc.  Now? No issues for anyone.  But it took a while.  Her siblings were never embarrassed by her, they just took on a 'teaching' role with her and were taught, by the therapist for her (PT) and their parents what to say, how to say it, and kept repeating it. 


DDDaysh
by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:39 PM
Fankly, your DH needs to work with your SS on sucking it up and having more compassion for his sister. And, I say this as a child that was in your SS's shoes in many ways. I had two SN brothers very close in age, if not maturity, to me. Sometimes it was awkward, and sometimes I hated that I was associated with them in the eyes of my peers. But my parents, very correctly, told me that family was forever, that my brothers weren't to blame for their issues, and that I needed to learn to be an example for the rest of society to follow rather than giving into its worst faults, even if that meant losing friends and being teased myself. It made me a better person in the long run.

I'm assuming your SD is already getting therapy and trading social waters as best she can. If not, then clearly getting her therapy will help. But if she's already getting help, then get NT brother needs to learn patience, compassion, and loyalty. You can also look in your area (contact your local mental health organizations) for support groups for siblings of Autism.
STVUstudent
by on Aug. 15, 2014 at 7:57 AM
1 mom liked this

how old is SS?  He should not be responsible for entertaining his SN sister, and if she is causing his friends to back away, it is time for someone to step in.  Get her in some more therapy or something, maybe find some programs to help her channel some energy... do NOT let her pester her brother and his friends or he will wind up just as withdrawn as before.

sheramom4
by Bronze Member on Aug. 15, 2014 at 2:22 PM
1 mom liked this

Are there clubs or programs she can join that match her interests and may assist her in making friends (or at least friendly relationships)? My husband and I both teach electives at a charter school and have several students on the spectrum. We encourage them to take the electives they enjoy and then work on their friendships within those classes. One guy (12) who was picked on for the msot of the year in his regular courses and considered a nuisance was the key of the yearly school play because he did all of the sound and visuals. He is also awesome in my art class and his talents allowed the other students to see past his quirks. 

Tinkerbellmama
by Platinum Member on Aug. 15, 2014 at 3:28 PM

We have similar issues with DS and SD. SD is 14 and DS is 11, but due to SD's special needs she's developmentally about 10/11. She really struggles with making and keeping friends and often pushes herself into DS's friendships.

I don't really have advice to help. We haven't found anything that really helps. SD only has 3 friends so we really encourage her to reach out to her friends. But, when DS's friends area always coming over and asking him to go outside, she'll go along with him. Thankfully one of DS's friend has a sister, so she usually ends up coming out to play as well. 

But, it's difficult and it's hard to talk to either of the kids about it. 

oldproatthis
by Silver Member on Aug. 15, 2014 at 4:24 PM
When you were a child though, there were no support services for SNs kids like today...a TEN year old should not be carrying the burden of his sister. He needs his childhood and he's learning himself. The kids in the neighborhood are going to react, he needs some protection too and shouldn't be isolated because she is ruining his friendships. At 10 my brother did not want to play with me (12) and neither of us are SN, itt's normal for the age.
She does need friends, her OWN peer group, she is still FOUR years older despite her SNs and it will be awkward to impose her on a "play group" of boys 4 years younger...she needs an environment likely more structured, possibly with a play group guided by a therapist where she can get more intensive socialization skills than the average child.
Normal kids can learn what they need in the neighborhood cul-de-sac. An autism spectrum kid, no so much.

Quoting DDDaysh: Fankly, your DH needs to work with your SS on sucking it up and having more compassion for his sister. And, I say this as a child that was in your SS's shoes in many ways. I had two SN brothers very close in age, if not maturity, to me. Sometimes it was awkward, and sometimes I hated that I was associated with them in the eyes of my peers. But my parents, very correctly, told me that family was forever, that my brothers weren't to blame for their issues, and that I needed to learn to be an example for the rest of society to follow rather than giving into its worst faults, even if that meant losing friends and being teased myself. It made me a better person in the long run.

I'm assuming your SD is already getting therapy and trading social waters as best she can. If not, then clearly getting her therapy will help. But if she's already getting help, then get NT brother needs to learn patience, compassion, and loyalty. You can also look in your area (contact your local mental health organizations) for support groups for siblings of Autism.
DDDaysh
by on Aug. 15, 2014 at 4:44 PM
There is a difference between electing him to carry the burden of his sister all the time and expecting him to stand up for his sister and not allow others to treat her badly. And fair or not, being the sibling of a SN kid does carry a responsibility.

My brothers did have support services. I HATED spending Saturday's at Special Olympics tournaments, but I did it, because that's what family does.

I was assuming they had already sought out all the support services available for this girl. At that point, her family needs to meet her where she is. But I do recognize it can be tough on a child. It's a difficult balancing act. That's why I suggested they look into finding him a support group too. Other kids who also have autistic siblings will understand his frustrations better, and might be able to help him find the balance of how to manage peers and family.


Quoting oldproatthis: When you were a child though, there were no support services for SNs kids like today...a TEN year old should not be carrying the burden of his sister. He needs his childhood and he's learning himself. The kids in the neighborhood are going to react, he needs some protection too and shouldn't be isolated because she is ruining his friendships. At 10 my brother did not want to play with me (12) and neither of us are SN, itt's normal for the age.
She does need friends, her OWN peer group, she is still FOUR years older despite her SNs and it will be awkward to impose her on a "play group" of boys 4 years younger...she needs an environment likely more structured, possibly with a play group guided by a therapist where she can get more intensive socialization skills than the average child.
Normal kids can learn what they need in the neighborhood cul-de-sac. An autism spectrum kid, no so much.

Quoting DDDaysh: Fankly, your DH needs to work with your SS on sucking it up and having more compassion for his sister. And, I say this as a child that was in your SS's shoes in many ways. I had two SN brothers very close in age, if not maturity, to me. Sometimes it was awkward, and sometimes I hated that I was associated with them in the eyes of my peers. But my parents, very correctly, told me that family was forever, that my brothers weren't to blame for their issues, and that I needed to learn to be an example for the rest of society to follow rather than giving into its worst faults, even if that meant losing friends and being teased myself. It made me a better person in the long run.

I'm assuming your SD is already getting therapy and trading social waters as best she can. If not, then clearly getting her therapy will help. But if she's already getting help, then get NT brother needs to learn patience, compassion, and loyalty. You can also look in your area (contact your local mental health organizations) for support groups for siblings of Autism.
rocknmom85
by Silver Member on Aug. 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM
Yeah SS is 10 and will be 11 in a couple months, right after SD turns 15. Definitely sounds like you have a similar sitch. We did talk to SS and reassure him that we will try to keep SD occupied with other activities when he's playing with his friends. He felt better about it but still gets frustrated with his sister quite often. I gotta say, and this is just me being frank, not putting her down....But SD is an extremely unique child and "weird" is putting is lightly. She is either a ball of intense energy, usually centered around her obsession for sonic the hedgehog, or she is grumpy and very defensive. Ocassionaly she will be relatively calm for a short period, but she still has behavior s that are just so exclusive (it seems) to her that people are very often thrown off when they meet/see her. She rarely gets embarrasses by her own actions. Sometimes she can be delightful and cheer up anybody in her path...and other times she is so draining and hard to control. Anyway, I guess my point I have certainly never come across any kid remotely like her, so it's hard to know how to deal with her. Glad someone can sympathize though!

Quoting Tinkerbellmama:

We have similar issues with DS and SD. SD is 14 and DS is 11, but due to SD's special needs she's developmentally about 10/11. She really struggles with making and keeping friends and often pushes herself into DS's friendships.I don't really have advice to help. We haven't found anything that really helps. SD only has 3 friends so we really encourage her to reach out to her friends. But, when DS's friends area always coming over and asking him to go outside, she'll go along with him. Thankfully one of DS's friend has a sister, so she usually ends up coming out to play as well. But, it's difficult and it's hard to talk to either of the kids about it. 

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN