Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thoughts on being a Special Needs Sibling

First of all welcome if your joining in from the blogging party! Please feel free to read my past posts to see how I got here. For those that are new, if you did not know I have a sister who has Down Syndrome, Sarah who is 24 years old. I would like to start with though she may have an extra chromosome, look different, talk slower she is still MY SISTER & is NORMAL. She does the same stuff you & I do, dancing, singing to disney movies, playing disney trivia, & many more. Growing up it was hard in the tough points cause none of my friends had that in common with me & it was hard to figure out what I was feeling. Having no friends with a sibling with special needs made me feel alone frankly. Not til I went to Camp Barnabas, did I truely feel like I was not alone in this Journey of being a sibling. My struggles were nothing compared to some of the other siblings I met at camp but yet some were still the same. That support that came from just a week at camp, being just a normal pre-teen/teen with no one staring at you or your sibling & being able to share the Good, & the Bad times in confidence. I want people to know even though we have our share of struggles that SIBLINGS WHO HAVE A SIB WITH DOWN SYNDROME DO NOT FEEL BURDENED AT ALL! Reccently they did a study on siblings of people with Down Syndrome, & you know what they found out? That most siblings had a POSITIVE response. So to those parents who may think their child will be a burden to the child without special needs, don't assume that! The sweetest thing my Sarah said reccently to my sister Rebekah who is expecting, "Will the baby have Down Syndrome like me?" Sarah does fully understand what down syndrome is & she accepts who God created her to be. You know what else? If my sister had a child with Down Syndrome she would take on that special gift as she knows what a joy Sarah has been in our lifes & our family would welcome that new child just like any other new member in our family!
Some things that bug me still are STARES & in correct terms on People First Language. I do know that some of us who know people with ds love seeing others in the store, etc. but I try not to stare as I don't want them to think the wrong impression. Another thing that bugs me is the R word, yeah I know some of us use it to joke about ourselves but to me its offensive. How would you feel if you were called that?
Being a sibling has taught me so much about others but to me they are just like anyone else. I hope to adopt a child with down syndrome or other special needs but if I had a child with ds I would say "Bring it on!" as my brother shares in our video we made about being a sibling back in December for a contest. If anyone has any Questions about being a sibling feel free to ask in the comments & I will try my best to answer!


Jane@flightplatformliving said...

wonderful post...having tilly as a sibling is such a blessing for her will be the making of them xxxx

Lexi said...

I have four kids, two who have special needs- autism and Down syndrome. I'm really interested in the viewpoints of siblings. I wonder how my kids see each other. It's so good to see how much you adore your sister. It gives me so much hope that the love my kids have for each other now won't go away.

Leah said...

thanks Lexi for sharing! I am hoping to shortly do a blogpost with all sorts of sibling viewpoints.

Leah said...

thanks Jane!