How to balance caring for siblings of a disabled child

If your disabled child has brothers and sisters, they may need time to talk about their feelings. Sometimes siblings may feel left out or even resentful. This can happen if your disabled child is taking up a lot of your time.

Talking about your child's condition

Children may understand more than you think. Tell your kids what the doctors have told you. Try to answer their questions honestly.

Sometimes a story can make it easier to start talking. See our list of storybooks for children who have disabled brothers and sisters.

If your disabled child is in hospital a lot, taking your other children with you can help. They can see the ward and meet the professionals who are helping their sibling. Ask them if they would like to go.

Tips for supporting a disabled child's siblings

  • Let siblings choose if they want to help with their brother or sister.
  • Try to spend special time with each child.
  • Ask friends and family to help siblings continue their normal routines, such as going to sports clubs or other things they like to do.
  • Find out more about respite care (short breaks) and ask your local authority Family Information Service about short break services in your area.
  • Some people find it helpful to have cards explaining their child’s condition. These can give siblings a simple way to talk about their disabled brother or sister to their friends.
  • Plan activities and outings you can do as a whole family. Read tips on days out from our online community.

Respite care

Local authorities can pay for respite care for disabled children but it can be difficult to get. Respite care can help you spend time with your other children.

Find respite care.

Organisations supporting siblings

Sibs is the UK charity for siblings of disabled children and adults. It provides information, support and training.

The charity Contact has a guide on supporting siblings.

Barnardo's runs projects to support young carers.

Over the Wall runs camps for siblings of those affected by serious health challenges.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 09/01/2019

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