Tag Archives: special needs

The Sibling Support Project

The siblings of a special needs child have special needs of their own. The single mom struggles to give time to all of her kids, but extra time is often devoted to her child with special needs, whether the need stems from physical or mental health or educational needs. In addition to the normal rivalry among the children of the family, the kids may feel guilt that they get angry at the extra time devoted to the special needs child or their own lack of patience in dealing with the situation.

It’s important for everyone in the family to recognize that siblings of kids with special needs have opportunities that many other kids don’t have. Because of their special family environment, they learn at an early age how to feel empathy and are able to accept differences in children. They develop kindness and patience as they develop their relationships within the family.

The Sibling Support Project recognizes that families who have a child with special developmental, health or mental health concerns have special, life long concerns. Their mission is to support the siblings of kids with special needs.  With more than 300 Sib-shops around the world, they work to provide support programs for young siblings, adult siblings, the extended family and caregiver of children with special needs.

Based in Seattle, WA, the Sibling Support Project has trained service providers in every state. You can check their website at http://www.siblingsupport.org/ to see if they have a location near you. They will also provide information on how to initiate a Sib-shop in your community as a resource center and support group of other families of kids with special needs.

In a nation with over six million children and adults with special developmental, health or mental health concerns, it’s important for siblings to know that their feelings are not unique. The brothers and sisters of over 6,000,000 people share their feelings of confusion, concern, resentment and even fear. The also can share the experience of advocating the right to have their own lives.

Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s Syndrome is a mild form of Autism. In fact, many people call it High Functioning Autism, and it is considered to be part of autism spectrum disorder.

Any warning signs that the single mom picks up on should be discussed with the child’s doctor so that her child can be evaluated. The symptoms can be reduced when treatment interventions are begun early, but some parents dismiss many of the symptoms and only half of children with Asperger’s Syndrome are diagnosed before they start kindergarten.

Newborns can exhibit warning signs that are easily ignored. They can become fixated on a single item for an extended period of time. On the other hand, they could be completely unresponsive.

Toddlers between one and three years old can suddenly change behaviors, losing skills in communication and even social skills and they start to reject people. Sometimes this happens suddenly, with the child becoming self-abusive, withdrawn or indifferent. If you notice these changes in behavior speak to your medical professional immediately to make arrangements to have the child evaluated.

The warning signs of autism are different with each child, but the single mom who suspects that her child may be exhibiting symptoms of ASD should look for the following:

  • An occasional period of seeming to not hear
  • An over attachment to a single toy or object
  • Avoidance of proper eye contact
  • Refusal to smile
  • Excessive behaviors like the lining up of toys and other objects

In addition, there are milestones in a child’s life that could indicate a problem if they are not reached. An infant should be pointing and making other meaningful gestures and be babbling by his first birthday, have a few words in his vocabulary at 16 months and be combining at least 2 words by the age of two. If these milestones have not been achieved, discuss them with the doctor who may refer you and your child to a specialist after a developmental screening test.

A team of specialists made up of a speech therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist and neurologist will do cognitive and language testing as well as neurological and genetics assessments and interview the parents and caregivers.

Methods for treatment will focus on the individual child and family. Parental involvement is necessary for the success of any treatment program that is suggested for the child. As the single mom networks with other parents of children with ASD, she may find that other kids are having success with other treatment methods. It’s important to remember that each child and family are different. The symptoms of ASD are different with each child as well as the response of each child to the treatment method.

While it’s important for the single mom to be an advocate for her child, before trying to adopt a new treatment method, it’s important that it is discussed with professionals.



Special Needs Resources for Single Moms

Single moms know the responsibility of being the main caregiver is a stressful challenge. When the family includes a child with special needs, it’s often hard to find another mom who is struggling with the same challenges.

The important thing to remember is that you are not alone and that you are not expected to know it all and do it all. You need help and shouldn’t be afraid to seek it.

There are resources available for the single mom struggling to cope with being the caregiver of a child with special needs. National organizations with local resources that may be available in your community, or near your community, can help you find the knowledge, support and respite needed.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also known as the CDC, formed the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. The NCBDDD works with people of all ages, but one of their defined missions is to help children reach their full potential. Not only does their website offer valuable information on specific disabilities, it also provides resources at a state level.

For more information on the NCBDDD, they can be contacted at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

1600 Clifton Road
MS E-87
Atlanta, GA 30333



TTY: (888) 232-6348
24 Hours/Every Day


The National Dissemination Center website offers a vast network of resources that assist parents in finding the information and support needed to help them care for their kids with special needs. NICHCY also recognizes that the entire family needs additional help when it includes a special needs child and provides links to resources geared at providing that support.

Contact them at:

1825 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20009

Tel: (800) 695-0285
Fax: (202) 884-8441
[email protected]

Child Care Law Center

Sometimes being an advocate for your special needs child isn’t enough and the single mom needs assistance just making sure that her child is benefiting from the laws that are in effect. The Child Care Law Center website offers tools for parents who need legal help to make sure their special needs child is receiving the services they are entitled to. This non profit organization is geared mainly to families and parents, but also assists with the legal aspects of organizations, from community based to the national level.

The address of Child Care Law Center is:

Child Care Law Center
100 McAllister Street, Room 360
San Francisco, California 94102

Tel:: (415) 558-8005
[email protected]