Category - siblings

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When People Stare At My Child Who Has Special Needs
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Separated Siblings: She Waves Goodbye As He Leaves For High School
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Brothers and Sisters—special needs
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Do You Have A “Special Needs Script?”
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Don’t Touch That Remote!

When People Stare At My Child Who Has Special Needs

  When strangers stare at my daughter I feel embarrassed, angry, defensive, indignant. I feel all the feelings in no particular order.  Sometimes I make direct eye contact with the starer. Sometimes I call them on it. Sometimes I don’t.  It’s emotional for us when people turn to look at our kids. And when their stares linger, it’s hard to handle.    But I try to remind myself that different draws attention. It’s human nature to be curious. People aren’t generally cruel. They’re just trying to figure it out.  So last week when my son’s gaze fell upon a girl with Down Syndrome and his glance lasted a few seconds too long, and was perceived as a stare, I understand why her mother glared at him.  He looked upset after swim practice. Not only were his eyes stinging from the chlorine, he was feeling the sting of guilt because he’d upset the mother of a girl in his class.  He explained that when he got out of the pool he noticed a girl about Avery’s age standing on the pool deck waiting for her sister. He spotted a school crest on her shirt and he was trying to get a better[…]

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Separated Siblings: She Waves Goodbye As He Leaves For High School

My daughter packed her backpack weeks ago in giddy anticipation of returning to school. She asked me to paint her nails and “do her hair pretty.” She couldn’t be more excited to start grade six.  My son was in denial that summer was ending right up until the end. He gave little thought to his first day of high school outfit. He wasn’t even planning on brushing his hair until I “suggested” it. I pleaded with him to let me take him shopping, but he refused. “Mum, I’ve got enough clothes. I’m fine.” Kind of hard to take him seriously when he’s arguing his point in mismatched socks and pants that are miles too short.  But he’s in high school now. He’s a big boy. In short pants. His pants, his choice I guess. (Mind you, I went to the mall today and bought him a few new things against his will. I can’t have the kid looking like he’s been stuffed into shrunken kahkis all year.) High school… no longer at our local elementary. He’s moved on and this is the first time his little sister will be at school without him.  At first she didn’t make the connection. “What?[…]

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Brothers and Sisters—special needs

  I fell head over heels for each of my children instantly. When my son met his baby sister for the first time, he stroked her downy soft hair and vowed to always take care of her. Sure, they may tease and squabble and possibly bite leaving behind little teeth marks, but mostly they are faithful friends. I thought I couldn’t possibly love them more until the day when the ambulance came. My youngest needed help and my oldest child, blurred out of sight, was brought back into focus with the words, “Mummy, don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Just please, please let her be okay.” Standing with his back pressed firmly against the wall out of the way of the paramedics, I warned him about the mad rush of people who would be coming any minute, and cautioned him to stay out of their way. He was holding his sister’s pink bear, which he later handed me to bring along to the hospital. I knew in that moment, that he loves his sister as much as I love them both, and my heart ached under the weight of that realization. My son has loved his sister from the moment[…]

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Do You Have A “Special Needs Script?”

Writing a movie script? Fun!   Writing a script for your child to have on hand for when peers, out of ignorance or curiosity, call his younger sibling a “retard“? Not quite as much fun. But it’s important to arm kids who have a sibling with special needs with the words to thwart such attacks. And what about the parents of children with a disABILITY? Parents like me with soft hearts and thin skin. There was a time when I considered having cards made up to hand to strangers who stared or made unsolicited comments. I thought by having the words written out, I’d be better able to explain without getting emotional. Since then, my skin has thickened an inch or two and with time and experience and I now welcome the opportunity to address them directly, and calmly. Usually. More often than not, people are receptive upon hearing the information when delivered in a respectful manner. And yes, the “respectful” tone employed for such exchanges takes effort. Look out Meryl Streep — the Best Actress award goes to… Addressing adults — check. I seem to have that under control. Minus the time when that crusty awful woman shushed us.[…]

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