ASD child - impact on sibling — Scope | Disability forum
Find out how to let us know if you're concerned about another member's safety.

ASD child - impact on sibling

clarence Member Posts: 1 Listener
I have a 4 yr old son with ASD who is non verbal. I am growing increasingly worried about the impact of his behaviour and our home life on his younger sister (aged 2 and NT). My son is extremely sensory and is constantly moving. He will jump on his sister without warning or often bumps her because he is moving around without looking where he is going. He has no particular interest in her other than physical. For example, he might run up behind her and hit her on the head - not hard - it comes across as sensory seeking or boundary testing. All this is done with a smile and he will become excited if she responds, so if he bumps her and she reaches out to him, he will jump, flap and squeal. I am worried that she is going to get hurt, but also observing some very odd behaviour which she may copy. We try and discipline my son by telling him off, time out, asking him to apologise, but nothing works and he just repeats the behaviour. Should I limit the time they spend together? This also makes for an environment in which my daughter is constantly exposed to tension and stern words. My son’s behaviour is often dangerous - he will climb or put his fingers in the door, or destructive - he might tip things out of bottles, pull things over if unsupervised so he is constantly being told off. We have had significant OT advice and nothing has had an impact in terms of decreasing his need to move/sensory needs/mouthing or helped with his concentration or listening. He ignores (or is unable to listen) to either of his parents for the majority of the time. 


  • Antonia_Alumni
    Antonia_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,781 Pioneering
    Hi @Clarence welcome to the community and sharing this with us.

    I have moved you over from our autism and aspergers discussions to our Asking a parenting advisor discussions, where @KellyParentAdvisor may be able to answer your questions.  ;)
  • Beverley_Scope
    Beverley_Scope Scope Navigate service Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi  @Clarance

    My name is Beverley and I am a parent advisor for the Scope Navigate service.

    Can I ask when your son was diagnosed?  If it was within the past 12 months you may be able to access our service. 

    Navigate provides a six week programme of online and telephone support to parents who have a child going through diagnosis, or who have a child who has recently been diagnosed with a disability.  The aim is to provide parents with emotional and practical support that will help them build resilience as they start their journey as a parent of a child with a disability or impairment. 

    The link to the online referral form is below:

    Our phones are also live from 9am - 8pm on Monday - Friday and 9am to 12pm on a Saturday.

    I hope this helps.

    Beverley Davies
    Parent Advisor
  • Emmaf01
    Emmaf01 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    I haven't got exactly the same situation but similar concerns. I have an already diagnosed with ASD and ADHD 14yo son. We have a 5yo daughter who is on the excruciatingly slow pathway to diagnosis.  

    The 5yo is very physical and violent. When she has a meltdown she can't talk, she shrieks and quacks. And she attacks everyone but especially her brother. 

    His sensory issues are different and completely incompatible.  He hates noise and anyone touching him. And he has never raised a hand to her, even when she tries to beat the **** out him.

    So I understand some of how you must feel, and hope you get better support soon.
  • Beverley_Scope
    Beverley_Scope Scope Navigate service Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi @Emmaf01

    That sounds like a difficult situation for you.  

    The service that we provide at Navigate may be suitable for you also if you were looking for practical and emotional support with regards to your daughter.

    The address for the online referral site and phone number is above.

    I hope we can help in some way.


    Beverley Davies
    Parent Advisor
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,676 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @clarence
    Welcome to the community, do you have any local autism groups near you? I know one local to me that offers holistic support for the whole family and just wondered if there was anything near you?

    The National Autistic Society have a couple of books they recommend for younger children who have an autistic sibling:
    It can be difficult for younger children to understand autism and what being autistic may mean for their sibling. There are some pre-school resources that may help: 
    And they say:

    If your son or daughter has a sibling with autism, the best thing you can do is to make sure that you make time for them. You can use this time to talk to your child about any difficulties they might be having, related to their sibling with autism or otherwise, but it might be better to concentrate on having fun and use it as a break from everyday issues. A little quality time can go a long way!

    As well as spending time alone with you, siblings may also benefit from spending time away from the family as a whole. This could mean they spend the occasional evening or weekend away with friends or relatives. It could also mean finding a siblings group where they are surrounded not only by people with similar experiences but also trained professionals who can help them deal with any difficult emotions they might be experiencing.

    You can read more about supporting siblings on the National Autistic Society website here.

    Sibs is a charity that supports siblings of disabled children and may be useful for you to have a look at too.

    Senior online community officer
  • KellyParentAdvisor
    KellyParentAdvisor Member Posts: 32 Courageous
    Hi @clarence, thank you for posting. I see you've had some excellent advice already, and I hope you can make use of the Navigate service. 

    Although not particularly violent or dangerous, my children (one diagnosed, one not - yet) often find it hard to be in the same space as each other. The only way we can stop the screaming is to keep them apart. It feels horrible sometimes, but if it's what works for your children and your family, then it can be a good thing and may only end up being a shorter-term solution. 

    I would say to give each of your children plenty of quality time with you and any other significant people in their lives. Have you looked into respite care for your son to give you all a break once in a while? I know he's only 4, and this is still very young to be managing our own emotions, even for non-autistic children, so hopefully his behaviour will lessen as he gets older too.
  • Bart20something
    Bart20something Member Posts: 2 Listener
    I have a non verbal autistic boy (6) and a girl (1). You can't ever leave them around each other because he will hit her. He might tolerate her for about a minute or so under very close supervision.

    My only solution is to keep them apart, but I think you really have to experiment with what works best for you. I turned the basement into his playroom and try to entertain my son with sand, fake snow, macaroni. I wonder if the OT team could help you put in an application for short breaks, so you can get a PA to help?


Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community better.