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.

Talking about your child's condition

Children may understand more than you think. Try to answer their questions as honestly as you can in a way they will understand. Sometimes a story can make it easier to start talking.

Storybooks for children who have disabled brothers and sisters (Pinterest)

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.

Offer them the chance to go if they would like, but let them decide when they are ready.

Tips for supporting a disabled child's siblings

  • Let siblings choose if they want to help with their brother or sister.
  • If you can, try to spend a little time with each child on their own, even if this is reading a book or going to the local park.
  • Ask friends and family to help siblings continue their normal routines, such as going to sports clubs or other things they like to do.
  • Ask your local authority 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 way to talk about their disabled brother or sister to their friends.
  • Plan activities and outings you can do as a whole family.

Days out for disabled children and their families

Respite care

Local authorities can help 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

Find childcare (Family and Childcare Trust)

Organisations supporting siblings

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

YoungSibs is for young people aged 7 to 17 and provides information, tips and a safe moderated chat forum.

The charity Contact has a guide on supporting siblings.

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

Last reviewed by Scope on: 30/08/2023

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Emotional support for parents