Siblings Are Special, Too
The bond between siblings can be a beautiful and powerful thing. It can be especially touching to watch your typical child interact with your special needs child. Whether they are teaching their sibling something or helping you deal with the ups and downs of the day, siblings are a wonderful thing. To
celebrate Siblings Day, we asked parents to share their personal stories about the bond they see between their children.
Niki writes of her 9-year old twins Jada and Maya who share a close and unique bond where words aren’t required. “They can sense and anticipate each other’s feelings and emotions like only twin sisters can. Maya is neurotypical and Jada is a stroke survivor who is non-verbal. Jada has significant cognitive and developmental delays and needs assistance with all aspects of her care. This journey hasn’t been easy, but together the girls are so resilient and they both use their strengths to help each other. Maya has been a voice and advocate for her sister and for other students at the school. She is a wise and compassionate young lady who would like to be a “life coach” in the future. Sometimes Maya feels shy and she loves the way that Jada can easily make friends and meet lots of new people everywhere we go. Together they make an amazing duo!” It’s no secret that life experiences shape the person we become. Growing up with a special needs sibling can promote the development of many great qualities; empathy and compassion towards others; resilience in coping with challenges; responsibility and dependability; patience and understanding in situations; and even the confidence to advocate for others like Meikele’s oldest daughter.
Meikele writes of the bond her 7-year-old daughter shares with her younger brother and sister, who have a host of diagnoses. “She wants to understand all the things going on; one of them is changing her brother’s feeding tube. We put her off as long as we could and finally gave in to her assisting us after his tube came out on Easter morning. She knew all the things I needed and where they were. While I was deflating his button to put it back in…she gathered them all for me without being asked, and stood over my shoulder saying ‘Bubba! You can’t pull that out! It keeps you alive!’ while I completed the process. So we knew it was time and she was more than ready.” Meikele and her family strongly advocate for her brother and sister battling pediatric feed disorders. Meikele Lee is also the author of “My Belly Has Two Buttons” and “A Very Tubie Christmas”. (insert image with little girl holding button)
Children pick up what they see and most want to learn and help with pretty much anything. Sometimes having a special needs sibling means falling into certain roles that other typical children wouldn’t normally have growing up.
While there are many benefits, there can also be a lot of challenges. We see how selfless our children can be and sometimes forget they, too, can carry their own inner struggles.
(Continued on page 2)