If You Have Other Children - Their Challenges & Support

In almost all families, siblings bring a mixture of love, support, loyalty, rivalry and arguments. Any parents in any family have to manage all this. When you have a child with SMA, you have the additional challenges of the physical care and all the co-ordination and management they need, so your time is often necessarily focused on them. Potentially this can lead to feelings of guilt in you and jealousy and feelings of being less important or left out in other children.

Some of the challenges specifically for and with siblings are highlighted in the resources below, along with suggestions for how to manage or get support. The topics and sources of support covered in the section ‘Challenges & Support for Your Child who has SMA’ may also be just as useful for any child in your family. 

The charity Contact for Families with Disabled Children talks about some of the issues that may crop up for siblings of a disabled child and gives tips to respond to them: www.contact.org.uk/advice-and-support/your-child-your-family/supporting-siblings/  

They also produce a leaflet called ‘Siblings’. You can order this on 0808 808 3555 or download it here: www.contact.org.uk/media/629582/siblings.pdf

SIBS - supports people who grow up with or have grown up with a disabled brother or sister: www.sibs.org.uk
Explore their website for guidance and resources, including: 

Together for Short Lives has written about ‘Understanding Siblings’ Needs’
www.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/get-support/supporting-you/family-resources/understanding-siblings-needs/

Children’s hospices - some offer support for siblings through a variety of activities such as play therapy, newsletters, weekends / outings. Services vary; you can find your local children’s hospice, along with details of who they can support and how, here: https://www2.togetherforshortlives.org.uk/portal/public/volunteer/List.aspx

Page last reviewed / updated: February 2021
Next review due: February 2022