Seven Ways to Support Siblings of Kids with Special Needs

Jo Ashline, the special needs columnist at Orange County Register, shares seven ways friends and family can support siblings of kids with special needs.

Parents of kids with special needs are often parents of typical kids, too. They love all their kids. Sometimes they worry about how one child’s special needs impact the sibs. Jo Ashline, who is the special needs columnist at Orange County Register, is one of those parents.

Meet Jo’s Sons

Jo loves both her sons: Andrew, who experiences autism, and Ian, the typical sib. She’s observed Ian’s compassion and patience toward Andrew, even though Ian is eighteen months younger than Andrew. The boys’ relationship is good, but Jo realizes Ian could use support from family members and friends.

Seven Ways to Support Siblings of Kids with Special Needs

In fact, she developed this list of seven ways caring people can support Ian and other sibs of kids with special needs.

  1. Offer an open door policy that’s free of judgement.
  2. Be Honest.
  3. Quality Over Quantity
  4. Personal Space
  5. Support Groups
  6. Instill a Sense of Pride in Your Child
  7. Provide Plenty of Respite


To read Jo’s thoughtful fleshing out of each item on the list read her article, 7 ways to offer siblings of special needs kids support at the Orange County Register. The post includes a picture of her boys that will melt your heart.

How Can People Support Siblings of Kids with Special Needs at Your House?

What do think of Jo’s list? What items have you used before? What would you add to it? Share your expertise so the sibs of kids with special needs get all the support they need.

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Meet Jolene

Jolene Philo is a published author, speaker, wife, and mother of a son with special needs.

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