When My Kids Shared Their Feelings About Their Brother With Down Syndrome
I want to look at Down syndrome from a siblings’ perspective. My son, Blake, is lucky enough to have three siblings: two sisters and one big brother to watch over the group.
I have said many times that my other children are more compassionate, empathetic, helpful and kind human beings because Blake was born with Down syndrome.
In fact, a 2011 study found that “94 percent of older siblings expressed feelings of pride” about their brother or sister with Down syndrome, and 88 percent “felt that they were better people because of their siblings with Down syndrome.”
I asked my children to communicate in their own words about their feelings about Down syndrome, society and their little brother, Blake.
Kaleigh Rain, 7
“Kids who have Down syndrome are just like regular kids. There’s nothing wrong with having Down syndrome. Blake and I like to dance together to music. We also like to play outside. Blake is very good at art. Blake sometimes gets a little dirty, and everyone needs an extra bath.
We like to laugh and wrestle. As his sister, I have to stick up for Blake. Blake has fun at school. I love him even though he doesn’t even know his name yet. I hope you will be nice to kids and grown-ups with Down syndrome.”
“My baby brother has Down syndrome. Many people think Down syndrome is bad, but my brother, Blake, is just like any other kid. He’s fun, sunny, caring, sweet and so much more. I enjoy having him as a brother so much. He has brightened my life since he was born. I have had so many memories with him that I will remember my whole life.
He makes me remember what it was like to be younger, and how I just wanted to do what I wanted and how much I loved my family. I may be the older sibling, but Blake has shown me things that I didn’t know before. I didn’t even know what Down syndrome was before he was diagnosed. I don’t think any different of him; he was just like everyone else. When my stepmom and my dad told us what it was, I still thought Blake was normal. I’m so thankful to have my little brother, Blake, and I can’t wait to share many more memories with him.”
“Don’t let Down syndrome change your opinion about a person. I’ve watched my little brother grow up for four years now, and he’s still just as loving and kind as anyone else, if not more. He excels every day just as any other kid does. I’m positive he’s just as smart as children without Down syndrome in his age group.
I wish people wouldn’t put titles on people like my brother. His life is just as important as mine or yours. Never judge a person just because they have a so-called disability; it doesn’t change who they are.”
When I look around, I see the impact Blake and every other member of the Down syndrome community have made on the lives around them. They are contributing to the lives of people in their community, classrooms and those closest to them — their siblings. I don’t think my children would have changed their answer in any way if asked by another person.
I love how they’re considering the impact labels have on people and how a label doesn’t change who you are. It’s an important life lesson for any child. I’m so proud to be raising such loving advocates and allies!
The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability and/or disease, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.