I am a preschool teacher and the mother of two boys, ages 3 and 7. My 7-year-old is at the developmental level of a 3 or 4-year-old and may not go any higher. My 3-year-old has a slight speech delay but is improving every day. How can I make sure that when my 3-year-old passes my 7-year-old, he will understand his brother's situation and still want to play with him?
If you and his father are accepting of your older boy’s developmental problems, the chances are your younger boy will come to understand his brother’s limitations and show similar acceptance…which is not to say that he won’t have problems in this area. As we know, other children—and adults—can be cruel in their reactions to a child with disabilities—and to the siblings, and your younger son will have to learn to cope with that situation.
An important resource for you would be other parents who have similar challenges. Organizations like Easter Seals and the Association for Retarded Citizens have chapters in most cities. These organizations sponsor parent groups as well as programs for the disabled children, and the support and help forthcoming from them cannot be underestimated. If you have difficulty finding these by looking in your phone book, ask your pediatrician or family physician for information and a referral.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.