General information on siblings:
Siblings at school:
- Difficulty finishing homework or homework being spoilt
- Tiredness or poor concentration
Teasing or bullying by other students
- Worry about their brother or sister with disability
- Extra responsibility for their brother or sister
The concerns might show up at school in the following ways:
• Excessive ‘acting up’ behaviour, attention seeking
• Overly concerned with being the ‘good child’ or people pleaser
• Isolation from peers
• Ongoing physical complaints such as stomach or head-aches
Of course, school staff may not know that a student has a brother or sister with special needs for the following reasons:
• Data collection by the school might not include details of other children in the family
• A sibling might choose not to reveal their family circumstance as they feel embarrassed and might be fearful of ‘disability by association’. They might also feel guilty about ‘complaining’.
Even when staff members are aware that a child is a sibling to a child with disability, the sibling may not show or express their concerns. They might receive a lot of ‘kudos’ from home and from others for being a ‘good’ sibling. Their identity might be largely framed by the idea that their needs are not as important as those of other people. It can be difficult to ask for help. The fact that a child does not show concerns does not mean that they are not in need of support.