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A Sibling's Guide to Down Syndrome

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So, you have a sibling with Down syndrome? Or maybe you’re about to have one? Or maybe you’re just intrigued to know what it is like? Now, I’m not going to sugarcoat this because I’m not Willy Wonka, so get ready for the facts.

1. People might believe your sibling is/will be a burden on you. Some people do seem to think they will hold you back and somehow stop you from achieving and distract you. In my case, Rory hasn’t done this. If anything, he has helped me achieve!

2. You’ll be left with your sibling when your parents peg it (die). This one always makes me laugh a little inside, I didn’t realize as soon as my parents are gone there is an assumption I’ll stop interacting with any of my other siblings. I mean, I’m going to be left with all of them, not just Rory!

3. This one is slightly controversial, but Rory has led me to have great opportunities. He’s like my golden ticket sometimes. If I were to go to Disneyland with any other sibling, I would have to queue for hours, I take Rory and jackpot, front of the line!

4. You still go through that sibling stage of fighting and annoying each other! Yes, just because your sibling has an extra chromosome doesn’t mean they wont want to wind you up or pick a fight.

5. They might cost you a fortune. Every time I go into a shop, I feel like Rory is looking at me with his puppy eyes saying, “Please buy me this, I’m your favorite.” More often than not the item ends up in my shopping basket.

6. One minute you will be fighting, the next you will be defending your sibling from online trolls.

7. They might inspire you. Sometimes in a good way, other times in a bad way. They might inspire you to write (like me) or they might inspire you to punch someone in the face for using the dreaded R-word.

8. They are tough cookies, not push overs, and if you don’t watch it they will have a fight with you too. Rory has proved this to me. He can be in a mood where all he wants to do is annoy me. By this I mean, he will try to get to me all day.

Seriously though, moments might be hard. I’ve seen Rory when he has been so ill, but I forget that because I am there when he achieves. A happy moment overcomes a bad one. The support groups are amazing and the friends you might make are even better. Your sibling may show you a part of life you never thought you would see. I’ve been in the houses of parliament and protested because of my little warrior brother. Not something I ever thought I would do. I’ve won a journalism award because of something I wrote about Rory. I was never interested in writing until Rory came along and I found blogging as a way to get my voice out there!

Siblings with Down syndrome are not a burden but more a key into a part of life we never thought we would see.

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Originally published: February 27, 2018
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