Relationship problems in Traditionally developed children with their Autistic Sibling

The surroundings of an autistic child shall be warm and friendly. Any behavioural disorder is normally coped with most by the family members. They stay around their loved one suffering from such a condition, putting up a shield around and keeping them safe from the aspects of life that might threaten their sensitivity. Autism Spectrum Disorder has played a dominant role in setting the relationship core between the siblings and the autistic individual.

The behavioural disorder that is the part of an autistic personality, is also surrounding the siblings of an autistic child. The presence of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) leaves a 50% imprint of their associated behavioural issues on their siblings. Some behavioural levels where we can assess and calculate which factors affect the siblings of an ASD child.

Parental attention:

When an ASD child is part of a family, you can see how the parents give a maximum of their attention to their autistic child. It does not mean that they love him more than their other children, but the mind of a child cannot understand that easily. This thus results in them perceiving their autistic sibling/s to be more of a nuisance rather than a special care child. This situation is less frequently found in households where the ASD child is the second or third in number amongst siblings, with an age gap of 2 years or more.

Tantrum episodes between siblings:

Consider this scenario: Your children are playing super-hero. Your normal child shows the red superman cape to your autistic child. The child with autism will give an extreme reaction to that colour display, while the traditionally developed child will be dumbstruck as to what might have happened to result in that tantrum. The lack of understanding of the TD child about the behaviour problems and sensitivities of the ASD child, irrespective of their age, makes them feel neglected. Also, that in the mind of the traditionally develop (TD) child, while they have not done anything out of the ordinary to get the ASD child to react as such, they feel that they were scolded without any valid reason, which also increases the animosity amongst them towards their autistic sibling

Stay at home at all times:

A TD child would prefer to go out, play, enjoy and socialize with other children, which is very much in contrast to the non-social personalities of an ASD child. With this restriction, the majority of the time they are asked to stay with their autistic sibling and to take care of them. This has been observed as a routine care-taking of their autistic sibling. This not only limits their own time and movement but also burdens them with the responsibility of making sure nothing happens to put off the mood of their ASD sibling, which might earn them another scolding or detention.


Amongst these development delays, there is only one way to avoid this animosity between the siblings. Develop an understanding with your TD children on how your ASD child is different, what are the do’s and don’ts. With time and patience, a great bind can be established between the siblings where they all understand and cohabitate the same way as normal families do.

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