Support for siblings

Growing up with a brother or a sister with special educational needs or disabilities doesn't mean that life needs to change. Siblings can have many things in common, such as how they behave, communicate and play. There are so many positives!

However, it is normal for siblings to have mixed feelings about their life, and it is important to consider their feelings.

Tips for parents

Here are 8 helpful tips for parents to support children who have SEND brothers and sisters:

  1. Be open and honest, talk about your child's disability and keep them updated.
  2. Teach your children fun activities they can do together.
  3. Listen to their feelings, sit down with them to discuss any concerns they have.
  4. Try to dedicate uninterrupted one-on-one time.
  5. Allow them to continue their normal routines, such as going to sports clubs or other things they like to do.
  6. Let siblings choose if they want to help with their brother or sister.
  7. Plan activities and outings you can do as a whole family.
  8. Read storybooks together about their brother or sister's disability.

Remember their feelings are valid, and it is important to talk things through. Visit the SIBS website to find out how:

Tips for siblings

Here are 8 helpful tips for siblings to to support their SEND brothers and sisters:

  1. Be proud of your brother or sister.
  2. Remember your parents may be struggling too!
  3. It's okay if you want some alone time.
  4. If you're finding it too much, make sure that you tell a family member, or a teacher.
  5. Even though you love your brother or sister a lot, sometimes you may feel that you don't like them and that's okay - all brothers and sisters feel like this.
  6. Love your brother or sister for who they are.
  7. Find something that you can do together.
  8. Ask your parents if you can help them out to support your brother or sister.

Understanding different disabilities

Allowing your children to understand their brother or sister's special educational needs or disability helps to improve their relationship. It's important to talk openly to help them to understand why their sibling:

  • has difficulty playing with them
  • has a hard time communicating with them
  • gets extra support.

Find out how siblings can learn more about different disabilities.

Short breaks

Our short breaks service provides positive, fun activities for disabled children and young people (aged 0 to 18) to take part in. They can be anything from a couple of hours at an after school activity or weekend club to an overnight stay for those with more profound needs.

They can help you and your family take a break from caring responsibilities and gives you time to rest and unwind with your other children.

Learn more about short breaks.

Young carers

Kent Young Carers (KYC) provide carers aged 5 to 18 years with information, advice and support as well as opportunities for social activities.

If a sibling is taking on caring responsibilities for a family member with a long-term illness, disability, mental health or substance misuse issue, they will be able to support them.

Following an assessment, KYC offer a range of short-term interventions including signposting, one-to-one support, in school support and workshops.

Find out more about Kent Young Carers.

Additional support

As well as support from family members and friends, charities can provide family days out, events, activity groups plus family advice:

Our Local Offer Directory also offers support groups, charities, activities and events. The directory receives updates weekly, and is checked to meet the needs of Kent residents.

Visit our Local Offer Directory.