Siblings with Disabilities

By: Isabelle Siegel

People readily consider the struggles experienced by children with disabilities as well as by their parents, but siblings’ experiences and difficulties oftentimes go unnoticed. However, growing up with a sibling with a disability is not without consequences. Having a sibling with special needs is associated with numerous challenges, but also numerous opportunities.

Challenges

Growing up alongside a sibling with a disability can be associated with many negative emotions, some of which include anger, guilt, jealousy, embarrassment, and fear. Siblings of children with disabilities often report feeling neglected by their parents and feeling forced to hide their own problems for the sake of their family or brother/sister. They may also undergo “parentification,” meaning that they take on the role of a parent to themselves or even to their sibling. Although this parentification is associated with increased maturity, it is also associated with increased emotional vulnerability and distress. Taken together, these negative emotions and challenges render siblings of children with disabilities at higher risk for developing psychological adjustment difficulties: that is, they are more vulnerable than the average child to anxiety disorders, peer problems, academic struggles, and more.

Opportunities

People are quick to assume that having a sibling with a disability is a purely negative experience. However, growing up alongside a sibling with a disability is associated with many positive emotions and opportunities. Siblings of children with disabilities report feeling immense pride, gratitude, loyalty, and love. They tend to be more mature, responsible, empathetic, and tolerant than the average child. These positive experiences are equally as important as the negative ones, and must be acknowledged in order to fully comprehend what it is like to have a sibling with a disability.

What Parents Can Do

In order to best help the siblings of children with disabilities, parents can take several steps. These include:

  • Making sure to spend one-on-one time with each child
  • Keeping the siblings informed about their brother’s or sister’s disability and its implications
  • Understanding both the negative and positive emotions associated with being the sibling of a child with disabilities
  • Getting siblings involved in psychological services such as therapy

If you or a loved one is the sibling or parent of a child with a disability, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/band-brothers-and-sisters/201406/siblings-children-disabilities
https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/child-adolescent-psychiatry/emotional-problems-facing-siblings-of-children-with-disabilities/
Image Source: https://raisingchildren.net.au/disability/family-life/siblings/supporting-siblings

Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

Passive Aggressiveness: Origins and How to Respond

By Crystal Tsui

At one point or another, we have all seen or engaged in passive aggressive behaviors, whether it’s giving the silent treatment, making subtle insults, or sending one of those “as per my last email” emails. We do this because we are suppressing our anger or frustration from someone or something. Fear and anger are controlled by a region in the brain called the amygdala. Passive aggressiveness stems from that basic emotion of anger.

Anger is neither good nor bad. It is a basic, spontaneous, neurophysiological part of human emotion. As children, we were often scolded or punished for expressing anger. For example, throwing a temper tantrum is considered unacceptable. So at a young age, we started to perceive anger as taboo. As a result, we learned to suppress our feelings and engage in an indirect expression of hostility through subtle acts.

Children are most likely to act in a passive aggressive manner. Nonetheless, children are the most susceptible to change. Teaching our children that anger is just like every other emotion and directing their anger towards a positive, productive activity will help the child grow into an adult knowing how to manage their emotions properly. Some positive activities may include writing, exercising, drawing, meditating, and listening to music. These activities provide a form of distraction that can alleviate one’s mood, by stimulating another part of the brain that is not associated with the amygdala.

However, adults act this way as well because it’s easier to be passive than to be assertive and emotionally open. When children are taught to suppress their anger and they mature into an adult, it’s harder for them to stand up for themselves and to confront their source of anger.

It is best to avoid raising your voice, lecturing, or knee-jerk consequences that can exacerbate the situation. If an individual is trying to express their anger through communication, it is best to listen instead of reprimanding them for being angry.

When someone is passive-aggressive towards you, fight the urge to mirror their behavior. Instead confront the behavior because when passive-aggressive behavior is confronted directly and assertively, the hidden anger is weakened. Assertive communication and being emotionally open, no matter how hard it is, is the most effective way to acknowledge and accept anger. This builds a foundation for lifelong emotional intelligence and strong, secure relationships.

If you or someone you know has difficulty managing their anger, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201712/the-angry-smile-responding-passive-aggressive-behavior

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/passive-aggressive-diaries/201709/how-respond-effectively-young-persons-anger

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-passive-aggressive-behavior-2795481

https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/pixar/images/7/7a/Io_Anger_standard2.jpg/revision/latest/scale-to-width-down/2000?cb=20150425021210

Autism vs. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

Autism vs. Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)

By Crystal Tsui

Autism and Disruptive Mood Dysregulation disorder are often diagnosed together. However, DMDD is a fairly new diagnosis that first appeared in the DSM-V in 2013. As per DSM-V, DMDD is typically diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 18 years old, but symptoms can begin before the age of 10. Before the child is diagnosed, symptoms should last about a year. DMDD goes even further than childhood “moodiness.” It can cause functional and emotional impairment.

Symptoms of DMDD include:

  • Irritability or angry most of the day, almost every day
  • Severe, explosive temper (verbal or behavioral) an average of 3x or more per week, not related to a situation and child’s developmental level
  • Trouble functioning in more than one place (e.g. home, school, and/or with friends)Autism Spectrum is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders. It has been categorized by patterns of repetitive behavior and difficulties with social interactions. Symptoms tend to be present in early childhood and affects daily life and functioning.

Symptoms of autism include:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Isolation
  • Obsessive interests
  • Resistance to physical contact
  • Word repetition
  • Little danger awareness

Individuals with these symptoms are not guaranteed to be autistic. Since autism is a spectrum disorder, each individual has their own strengths and challenges. Early intervention has shown to lead to positive outcomes later in life for individuals with autism.

Because both of these disorders are usually diagnosed together, there are no set ways to treat either disorder. If a parent or guardian is concerned about diagnosis or treatment plans, always feel free to get a second opinion.

If you or someone you know who may have Autism and/or DMDD, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism

https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Disruptive-Mood-Dysregulation-Disorder-_DMDD_-110.aspx

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/disruptive-mood-dysregulation-disorder-dmdd/disruptive-mood-dysregulation-disorder.shtml

https://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/dmdd/dmdd-and-autism-how-are-the-two-related

Image:

https://www.healthyplace.com/sites/default/files/styles/related_articles_tile/public/2018-07/Challenges_of_Parenting_a_Child_with_DMDD.jpg?itok=sueCdX4V

What it Means to be on the Spectrum

By: Estephani Diaz

Did you know that about one out of sixty eight children are considered to be on the spectrum? Being on the spectrum indicates a person has a set of behavioral and developmental challenges related to autism. Some of the challenges they may face are: difficulties with social interactions, poor motor coordination, repetitive behaviors, and many more. They may also have a hard time in school when it comes to playing with other kids or simply trying to learn in class.

Autism, also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder affecting communication and social skills in more than 100,000 children across the U.S. It is a brain developmental disorder seen in early childhood and carried out through adulthood. Every child diagnosed with autism has completely different symptoms than another child with the same diagnoses. Some symptoms may be severe, while others are mild. Some signs that might indicate a child suffers from autism are:

  • Delayed speech
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Little to no eye contact
  • Not responsive to their name
  • Obsessive interests

If you believe your child might have ASD, visit your doctor for a developmental screening and comprehensive diagnostic evaluation. Since ASD cannot be predicted by genes or blood tests, a doctor needs to observe the behaviors of the child to properly make a diagnoses.

If you or someone you know is suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit  http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.