31 days of blogging for Trisomy 21 presents: Myth busters Monday
Myth: Siblings of those with special needs are negatively impacted. They are not happy they have a sibling with Down syndrome.
Fact: Dr. Brian Skotko (who has a sister with Down syndrome) has researched this subject regarding siblings who have a brother or sister with Down syndrome. His research reported that for siblings age 12 and over: 94% were proud of their sibling with Down syndrome, 88% said they were better people because of their sibling, and only 4% said they would "trade in" their sibling with Down syndrome.
In general, sibling relationships are all different even when there isn't special needs involved. I think that's an important thing to keep in mind. Any brother or sister can have times when they love each other, annoy each other, and can't stand each other.
Regarding special needs and siblings, I can only speak about my personal experience with Jaycee and Elijah. Elijah loves his sister. He likes to watch television with her. He likes to help her get her vest off when her airway clearance is over. We encourage Elijah to cheer for Jaycee when she does something new; we do the same for him when he does a new skill. Elijah appreciates Jaycee. There are times when he's annoyed with her like any brother. We deal with those issues as they come up.
We respect the fact that Elijah may get mad at Jaycee or frustrated with her. We understand he may need special time with me after I've been gone with Jaycee for a hospital admission. We understand that Elijah's life is different because his sister has Down syndrome and health issues. But we don't believe he has a bad life because of her....just different. Different doesn't have to be bad; it can just be different. And that's okay.