We know from research that young children’s understanding of the world is embedded within their relationships with family members, including siblings and their role within the family unit.
Just ask Albie’s older brother Archie. “I know what Albie says even without his talker”
This comment from Archie tells us how special siblings can be, and what great relationships can be developed even without verbal speech between family members. “If Albie didn’t have his talker, I’d have to go with him everywhere.” Archie says.
This last statement tells us just how important Albie’s talker is for his independence.
Albie uses an Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) device – a liberator rugged 7 with LAMP words for life. He also uses key word sign and verbal speech to communicate. He has had his device for about a year.
During therapy at Kids Plus we love to encourage siblings to be part of the interactions. We are always amazed at how incredibly passionate siblings are about helping their brother or sister communicate more effectively. Involving siblings is a great way to enable the young person who uses AAC to experience a supportive environment, and build a deeper relationship with each other. Plus siblings often use vocabulary and language that matches the young person’s interests more than the adults in the room. Think “fart”, “cool”, “epic”! 🙂
Researchers have also found that siblings heavily influence each other and the type of person they eventually grow into. And in the lives of children with special needs, siblings have an especially important role to play.
Archie and Albie are certainly close and love their time together playing iPad games together, playing outside and being silly!
In March 2021 Kids Plus will be running a group session for siblings of someone who uses AAC. They can join us to learn how best to support your brother or sister with their communication while also meeting other siblings. They get to have fun and meet other young people who are siblings of those with complex communications needs!