Brothers and Sisters
When your brother or sister has special needs
In some families, one or more of the kids has a disability or special needs. Having a disability means that your body doesn't work in quite the same way as other people's. For example, someone with a disability might:
- not be able to see or hear
- need a wheelchair to get around
- need extra help because learning is hard
- have an illness that means going into hospital lots
We say that kids with a disability have special needs, because usually they need extra help - sometimes just a little and sometimes quite a lot. Most kids who have a disability will be able to do lots of the things that everyone else can do, but sometimes things can be really difficult for them and life can seem very hard.
Stuff that might happen if your brother or sister has a disability
If your brother or sister has special needs it could mean that mum or dad need to spend more time helping them and that there is less time to spend with you. It might also mean that your family expects you to help more and you have to learn stuff that other kids might not need to learn. For example, if your sister couldn't hear, you might need to learn sign language so that you could talk to her.
If your brother or sister has a disability or illness that requires lots of hospital visits or where they can't do much for themselves, it can get pretty tough for the other kids in the family. It might mean that mum or dad are often busy helping your brother or sister, and that when they aren't busy, they are tired and just need to rest. Or they might even be away, because your brother or sister is in hospital.
Sometimes kids who have a brother or sister with special needs are afraid to ask questions or to talk about the feeling and problems that they are having. This could be because they don't want to make things harder for their parents or because they think that compared to what is happening to their brother or sister, the problems that they are having are only small so they shouldn't complain. They might even think that it's not OK to feel angry or jealous.