Anytime there is a family member with a serious medical condition, it can easily alter the overall functioning of the family. Especially if the family member is a child, even more attention may have to be focused to meet the individuals needs. Many of the areas affected are not limited to: money, time, energy, and attention. This type of situation is even the more true when you have a child who is autistic. This condition in children can garner absolute focus with the exclusion of other areas of family life and even other children possibly.
More fuel is added to the fire when the child without “problems” begins to feel neglected or obsolete due to the focus being placed on the other sibling. Research completed by Dr. Robert Naseef finds that the child who feels left-out and neglected will sometimes develop sometype of “problem” such as depression, or behavioral issues to level the playing field for attention.
Dr. Naseef states that it is important that parents don’t help foster a dynamic that makes a child feel they must have a problem to get their parents attention. This is not fair to the child or the parents. Parents will need to ask and answer some hard questions: Is the autism to consuming in our family? Are the problems/symptoms we are seeing in our other child “new”? Only close observation and honesty about the situation can answer these questions.
After parents have asked and answered the hard questions, how do they go about correcting the situation? Sometimes all it takes is an eye-opening experience and the way you begin to handle and approach things differently will allow you to see a change in the child’s behavior. A readjustment of schedule, and family priorities can also bring about a change. If the situation is more severe therapy for the “healthy” child and/or the family may be needed.
It is important that all concerns be addressed to prevent a lifetime of resentment and family discord from developing.