Most of the time the sibling relationship between a ‘typical‘ and a ‘special needs’ child is based on parental or ‘professional’ opinions or perspectives and most of the time, they only present one side of the story. Something that we have always read on nicely written parents’ blogs, i.e. powerful, respectful, uncomplicated and passionate. While the truth is that even if it seems like all ‘sugary with love‘, it cannot remain consistent throughout their growing up years. Those who think otherwise read too much fiction and need a reality check!
Think about it, can any relationship be all hunky-dory? Do we really look close enough or scratch the surface a little and have open heart to heart talks with our ‘typical’ children? Do we take it for granted that they are young and do not go through the similar or usual roller coaster ride of emotions that we as parents experience.
The Truth?The truth is that a sibling’s role is still the least talked or discussed about, while they remain that one person who is going to share the longest lasting relationship with our child of special needs, more than the parents! We like to believe that as parents we have it hardest, but pay a little attention and you will be surprised to find out that it’s not always compassion, sympathy or love that our ‘normal’ child is experiencing. They too have concerns which are in some ways identical to what we as parents go through like a need for information, guilt, blaming themselves, loneliness, future concerns and in some ways quite different emotions like peer issues, resentment, sibling rivalry and a pressure to perform.
It also makes a great difference if the sibling is elder or younger to the child with disability. It is because the younger siblings don’t know any other way of life; he is born into that situation. But in case of older siblings and especially if there is a large gap, they remember the attention, the time they shared alone with the parents.
From the Horse’s MouthWhile reading and researching about this issue, I came across a radio show excerpts on ‘Siblings with special needs change childhood’. The show was asking people to share their ‘experiences of having a brother or a sister with special needs’. I was all ready to hear some nice emotional sentiments and touching stories of how that experience changed the lives of these callers and how they were eternally thankful for having the brothers or sisters they had, but I had the reality biting me in few seconds when I heard the reactions of a Girl with a special needs brother.
In her own words, ‘you know, as we grew up, I can relate too to being kind of ashamed of my brother but also kind of missing out on a brother-sister relationship like my friends had. And that was difficult too. You know, and a lot of attention does go to the child. I can remember coming home from school a lot of times, and my Mom, you know, was somewhere with my brother for some sort of an appointment, and this went on and on for like a couple of school years this way”
I almost felt wet in my eyes. Was it my story? Was I giving too much attention to my daughter with Down syndrome? I started listening again to be sure if that call was just an exception, but there were more calls to follow.
To Keep reading click the link below: http://www.twominuteparenting.com/5-things-to-make-sure-your-sibling-is/
A Michigan teen trekked 40 miles with his 7-year-old brother on his back to raise awareness of cerebral palsy, the cerebellar degenerative disorder that prevents his sibling from walking himself.
Hunter Gandee, 14, braved blustery conditions during the two-day hike from his hometown of Temperance, Mich., to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His brother Braden has struggled with cerebral palsy his entire life. Hunter toldABC that although he wrestles in 100-degree conditions at Bedford Junior High, “it’s nowhere near how hard Braden works.”
The teenager originally concocted the idea after raising $350 in green wristbands for cerebral palsy awareness month at his school. Afterward he wanted his efforts to reach beyond his classmates. “We want kids to understand Braden,” Hunter told MLive.
He was further inspired by a dream that his mother had of him carrying Braden to Mackinac, Mich., where the family had often vacationed. This led to two months of preparation for carrying his 50-lb. brother on his back.
The courageous duo were joined by other family members for the final portion of the journey, which nearly ended early because Braden’s legs were badly chafing. But after a brief rest-stop and repositioning Braden, the brothers completed the mission in 30 hours.
“We pushed through it,” an exhausted Hunter told ABC. “And we’re here.”
On the walk’s Facebook page, the Gandees express hope that the walk will earn the attention of engineers and doctors for “the need for innovative ideas in mobility aids and medical procedures.”
To see the original article click here: http://time.com/2846313/michigan-teen-carries-brother-40-miles-for-cerebral-palsy-awareness/
I know you’ve had to sacrifice so much, and I wish you hadn’t. For the many times you’ve thought it wasn’t fair, we’ve felt it too. And if you’ve had to miss out on life experiences, please know that we wish we could offer you the world.
Perhaps at times you’ve felt overlooked, because your sibling’s needs demand all of your parents’ attention. But they see you, they see you in the cracks of their vision, and their hearts hurt for the moments they’ve had to sacrifice time with you. But many nights they think about you, of the wonderful person that you are. I want you to know that the pride and love they feel for you could never be measured, you are what keeps them going many times. You make their days brilliantly beautiful.
And you’ve told us – your sibling with a disability has affected you too. Yes, there’s been sacrifices and some things you’ve had to give up, but you’ve gained so much from your sibling too. You’ve said your siblings with disabilities have shaped you into who you are today. We look at you, and we’re sure there is not a more compassionate, caring, accepting, and kind human being walking on this earth.
We’ve seen you be frustrated with your sibling, because after all you are siblings. We’ve seen the frustration in your eyes. But then something happens – perhaps it is a look that as parents we don’t recognize – but we see that frustration be replaced with love. You can be annoyed by hands pulling at you, and suddenly be a willing participant in the biggest, sweetest embrace that any siblings could ever share. I see the love in your eyes for your sibling, and I cannot believe that the two of you can share this kind of love. It’s not typical, but it runs so deep, and it reflects a quiet strength in you that brings me to tears.
We’ve seen you stand up to the bullies, even when it was scary. Because you understand so deeply that it isn’t right to diminish anyone, in any way.
And you have extended not only a smile, but a friendship to the kids that others so easily overlook. Because you don’t, you don’t ever overlook people. You notice them, you affirm them. With your smile and friendship you remind them that they matter in this world too.
You are perhaps more mature than someone your age. You’ve probably had more responsibilities than most of your peers. I guess in some ways you’ve lived a different life, life impacted by disability. And every day you’re out there, moving in this world with an understanding about the beauty and value of life that makes you stand out, and understanding that few people posses.
You’ve known these truths from a young age, they’ve always been a part of your life. As the parents, we arrived to those truths much later in life.
And you smile at life, enjoying every moment. You are stirring the people around you, helping them to see what you see, to know what you know. You are affecting people’s perceptions of disability as you advocate for your sibling, as you give them a voice when needed. You have willingly embraced this role…it humbles me, it brings me to tears.
You are moving those around you, and you will continue to do so.
As parents, we hope to make this place a better place for our kids. But as the siblings – with hearts so full of acceptance, compassion, an understanding of the value of life – you will go out into this world and change it. Not just for your siblings, but for all of us.
If you ever wonder who we look up to, it’s you. We could not be prouder or love you more fiercely.
Originally posted by: http://www.ellenstumbo.com/typical-siblings/
Rebecca is an independent publisher working to help siblings of children with emotional challenges.