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As a result of the parents' concentration of energy on their child with special needs, and from the assumption that the other children can manage on their own since they do not have developmental difficulties, brothers and sisters often find themselves in continuous situations of conflict, jealousy, competitiveness, feelings of guilt, and more. Studies have found that siblings of children with autism sometimes have low self-esteem and have difficulties in solving problems (Carmi, 1997). The assumption is that the state of tension and the change in the dynamics between the family members following the diagnosis or the increasing difficulty of the infant, may be a central reason for this finding.

Brothers and sisters A drawing of a family

Siblings can be of several types:

  • The Adapted Sibling
    Will show understanding and behave in a mature manner for his age.

  • The Introverted Sibling
    Will avoid social contact and will not invite friends home.

  • The Ambitious Sibling
    Will excel in every field and will try to "make up" or compensate for the parents’ struggles.

  • The Parent Sibling
    Will show excessive responsibility and avoid taking into account their needs before the needs of the family.

  • The "Problematic" Sibling:
    Will exhibit behavior problems and will use any means to get attention from the parents.

The integration of siblings at the Mifne Center

The brothers and sisters in the family are an integral and inseparable part of the treatment plan. Part of the treatment time is dedicated to individual meetings between the sibling and the therapist at the center, and part of the time is dedicated for the siblings' activities with the family, which also includes time with the parents. The therapeutic goals with the brothers and sisters are derived from the specific characteristics and needs of each child, according to their age. In most cases, each sibling goes through a very significant processes at the same time as all the family members. The therapeutic program also allows the siblings to explore their place in the family and express their difficulties and conflicts, which may also contribute to their development.

Siblings are integrated into the family plan according to their age and the personal needs of each of them. The siblings are also treated by experienced therapists, often through play. The treatment is also adapted to the needs of adult brothers and sisters. It can often be seen that the treatment enables the creation of new communication channels between the brothers and sisters who received intensive support during the treatment. This support strengthens their self-confidence and their understanding of their place and of the interpersonal relationships within and outside the family.

The integration of the brothers in the Mifne center
The integration of the brothers in the Mifne center family drawing
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