One and not the Other-Siblings of Sensory Childern
Putting up the Christmas Tree
As you know I have a child with SPD or Sensory Processing Disorder. However, I also have another daughter, Sally-Ann. Sally-Ann is 4 years old so she is the older of my two daughters. She does not have SPD(sensory processing disorder). This can be an additional challenge because although she does not have SPD, she is the sibling of a child that has a special need. This can cause discord in the family, between siblings. Since she is so young she doesn't quite understand why her sister is getting all this attention, or why we have visitors for Chloe and not for her. I have to admit I am struggling with this aspect of my parenting. As I am still learning I'm sure at some point I will come back to this topic but I wanted to share some of the things we are doing now to help defuse the situation!
Defuse the Situation
Keeping in mind that 4 year old do have a tendency to act out from time to time, it makes things tricky. I do believe that kids give warning signs as to why they behave the way they do and that children don't want to be bad. Children are still growing and unlike us adults who for the most part can express our feelings verbally, young children just lack the ability. However, there are a few things that I have implemented in our house that has helped out with some of those outbursts with Sally-Ann.
We are all busy and when you have a child with special needs it is a full time job and you always feel like there is never enough hours in the day, but you, for your own sanity, need to try and have some sort of schedule. All children need some form of a schedule to go by, it makes it easier for them and easier for you. With Chloe we have a full routine now with implementing the brushing technique, which will be in a follow up hub but not this one, and bed time routine, plus a task box, and OT activities throughout the day. Sally-Ann is in begindergarten so during the day things are scheduled, but when she gets home and on the days that she is home from school things can get hectic to say the least!!
One of the things that I have started doing is letting Sally-Ann if she is home help me with Chloe's task box, I do the brushing technique on her as well as Chloe. Believe it or not this helps her and I'm sure it would help many children, it doesn't have to be just for your special needs child it can be for all your children. I admit at first it was a challenge because Sally-Ann being older she wanted to do it all herself and not include Chloe in the activities. It took a time or two or three, five, seven times but she is getting it, if she wants to be included she has to share.
Another course of action that we have taken is to designate Sally-Ann time which is undivided attention with me or my husband so that she gets her private time with us and doesn't feel like she is needing us all the time. We sometimes take her to a kids movie, over to the grandparents house, to the store just her and I, these are all things that help her feel important. One of things that has been the hardest for us is discipline. My husband all 6'4 of him is a push over when it comes to our girls and with Sally-Ann it was a struggle as well because we knew she was acting out to get our attention but how do you handle that?? For the longest time I felt guilty so I admit I was not very good at disciplining. However, I realize now that you have to set those boundaries and implement those consequences for you child to learn.
We implement time outs and we do take a special toy away, whichever it is for a short time maybe an hour or so depending on what she did wrong. We have tried about everything but these were the things that seemed to help the most in that area. We also have a punishment guideline for Chloe as well because although she might not understand completely it is our job to teach her as best we can, so since time outs are just impossible because she can't sit still, she gets told no, redirected and if really bad we put her in her room for her to jump to calm down. Discipline can be tricky between parents, all parents have a different approach and different feelings on the subject. I can tell you though there are definitely days where I feel like calling SuperNanny to help me! However, you should trust your instincts and really decide what is best for your child, don't let other family and friends influence how your discipline. They are your children.
Decorating Christmas Cookies
Between siblings it can be hard, I know that me and my brothers argued and fought growing up and honestly we can still get into it every now and then but we love each other. I don't feel that it is necessary to hide Chloe's sensory issues from Sally-Ann even though she is only 4 years old, kids pick up on things and the best way to tell Sally-Ann is that Chloe is special and she has sensory super powers! Sally-Ann thinks that is just great and she has taken a great interest in trying to do the brushing technique on Chloe and helping her with her task box for speech. I'm hoping, fingers crossed that this will bond them closer and that they will always know that as sisters they hold a special bond with each other that no one can break, no matter how far apart they live, no matter their circumstances, or life choices, they need to be there for one another always.
Thanks again for reading my hubs and I hope you enjoyed it!