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Accepting Special Needs Siblings

By Jodie Lynn


We have four kids. Two are twins, one girl and one boy. One twin has not being doing well in second grade reading and his teacher has him going to a special reading group in a special needs class. While his twin has compassion the other siblings have been calling him names. This is upsetting him to the point of not wanting to go to school at all. What should we do?


It is sometimes hard for siblings to accept another who seems to have challenges in areas that they have none. It's also embarrassing because their friends are most likely showing no shame in teasing them about their special needs sibling. Kids can be quite rude. I personally went through this and was the only one of five kids who had to go to a special math group. My parents saw the torment I went through by being labeled a dummy. They hired a private tutor for me who made me feel good about myself and had lots of patience. Once I got back up to grade level, they had me retested and I no longer had to go to the special need class. It took me almost six months but it was worth meeting with the tutor three times a week. - P.T. in Ladue, MO


Tell your son that it is not a big deal to need a little extra help in any subject. Give him examples of success stories about famous people, or someone that he can relate to, regarding how they overcame a specific challenge (Michael Jordan failed to make his high school varsity basketball team). Share the same story with the other kids in the family. Stress to them that just because someone is having a few problems with reading, or basically anything, it does not mean that they are stupid. I am almost positive that the other three have had to get help in many things in their lives. It may have been riding a bike, learning how to whistle, hitting a ball or whatever. In fact, there may be something currently that they would like to do better because it's not up to what other kids have achieved or perhaps how they personally would like to do it. If we can remind others of where we have failed in various times in our own lives and worked hard and straightened things out, it makes challenges appear not so impassable and inspires instead. You might also be sure that you or another adult in your household are the ones that practice reading with your son in a private area. This way, compassion, love and patience can be the cornerstone of the learning process.

Keep Reading


Parent and teacher conferences are right around the corner. Many of the parents bring their kids to the session. The teachers don't seem to care one way or the other. However, I would like to talk to them by myself. What works best in this situation?

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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