Younger siblings copying a typical behaviors - Mothering Forums

Younger siblings copying a typical behaviors

Paigekitten's Avatar Paigekitten (TS)
12:13 AM Liked: 39
#1 of 8
08-16-2012 | Posts: 870
Joined: Feb 2008

My almost 5 year old is most likely on the spectrum (in the middle of the evaluation with the school district) and I am really bothered by her younger sisters copying some of her behaviors.  I know I should just ignore it but it is soooo hard when she screams in my face and then my three year old runs over and does it too or when I hear the baby crawling around the house copying some of her repetitive noises.


Has anyone else dealt with this?

Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move
07:31 AM Liked: 4229
#2 of 8
08-16-2012 | Posts: 10,638
Joined: Jun 2005
I have. My older dd is on the spectrum, my younger dd is not.

First, it is a temporary stage, very limited to the preschool years. My younger dd picked up pretty young that her sister wasn't a great model of behavior.

I did gently redirect/correct behavior rather then ignore it.

This is one of several reasons why I'm not a big fan of homeschoolings kids on the spectrum. The siblings all need real breaks from each other and chances to be around other kids and people. Is preschool an option for your 3 year old this year?

Neuro typical kids can easily learn socially acceptable behaviors as they get older by being exposed to positives models and a little instruction. By the time they are in early elementary, many siblings are doing really well, both in their own behavior and with empathy towards kids with challenges.

But I understand why this is bothering you. It broke my heart. And in some ways, getting past it was part of watching my younger dd pass her big sister developmentally, which was also heartbreaking.
mamakitsune's Avatar mamakitsune
11:49 AM Liked: 301
#3 of 8
08-16-2012 | Posts: 162
Joined: Jun 2012

My NT son (5)  has gone through a phase for about a year... That got worse when he started attending my autistic son's (6) developmental preschool (blended program with NT and NA children). My 5 year old started mimicing other children's behaviors as well- so good in fact he could have gotten an academy award for his performance! Young children mimic others as a way to better understand them, to make sense of the world around them, to relate, and of course to seek attention- sibling gets attention for their behavior, so shall they! (An infant may do it simply out of mimicing the world around them). My son's preschool teacher and I discussed the issue- because you can't exactly tell a kid they can't act like that because it's WRONG, because that could send a bad message about NA/ developmentally disabled children.  It was tricky but our main approach was to remind him to use HIS words, HIS voice, or remind him his brother/ other children were like that because they learn differently than him- and he didn't need to copy their behaviors. We also talk to him about how some of their sibling's behaviors aren't desirable, because they're not off the hook just because they have a developmental delay. They are trying to learn socially appropriate behaviors too, and their sibling needs to help model those behaviors for them- letting them know that can give them a sense of purpose in behaving normally. And sometimes... as you can with any undesirable behavior... You can ignore it, and it will lessen or go away completely. I also feel it is something that won't outlive the preschool/ early years so much. Good luck!   

Paigekitten's Avatar Paigekitten (TS)
07:49 PM Liked: 39
#4 of 8
08-16-2012 | Posts: 870
Joined: Feb 2008

Oh I like the idea of talking to her about using HER voice and ideas.  I think that might work really well.  


DD2 passing up DD1 socially was what made me finally admit something was up. We are starting to put together more play dates for DD2 because she's really into making friends right now, so it sounds like that should help. 


I've tried to get them time apart and even if they are having fun they each spend it asking about the other and why can't she come too. I'll have to make it a bigger priority.


I feel terrible that it bothers me so much. 

Linda on the move's Avatar Linda on the move
10:02 PM Liked: 4229
#5 of 8
08-16-2012 | Posts: 10,638
Joined: Jun 2005
You can let go of feeling terrible that it bothers you. You are beating yourself up for your feelings.

You feel how you feel. Let yourself feel it. Journal, talk to a friend, cry, do what ever you can to own and express those feelings.

After you let yourself really feel them, they might dissolve. Sometimes the key to moving past a feeling is going right to the center of it.
EarthRootsStarSoul's Avatar EarthRootsStarSoul
12:42 PM Liked: 3864
#6 of 8
08-18-2012 | Posts: 900
Joined: Nov 2009

In the long run, siblings of special needs children develop far more compassion and understanding of disabled or different people.  That's something to be proud of.  Your younger DDs copy their older sister because they like her.  thumb.gif

Paigekitten's Avatar Paigekitten (TS)
01:26 AM Liked: 39
#7 of 8
08-19-2012 | Posts: 870
Joined: Feb 2008

That's true they are best friends and super close. :)  I like thinking of it that way.  Yay!  Having that new way of framing things really helps!

EarthRootsStarSoul's Avatar EarthRootsStarSoul
02:06 AM Liked: 3864
#8 of 8
08-20-2012 | Posts: 900
Joined: Nov 2009

When I see ASD kids making stimmy movements, I see my brother, and I think it's precious.  :) 

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