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As someone with one “typical” sibling and one sibling with “special needs,” I’ve grown up with a different sort of normal than some. Defining one of us as “special needs” reminds us more of the differences than the similarities, and in our own ways we all have differing individual needs. However, for the sake of clarity, I’ll use the term “special needs” to refer to my brother.

The experience and knowledge I’ve gained growing up with people with different types of needs has been extremely beneficial to shaping my personality and my life.

Still, I’ve noticed parents and others cannot seem to understand the type of relationship you share with a sibling who has special needs. Maybe it’s because there’s no one guide for siblings when one has special needs. I’d like to share some of my secrets.

Originally published: January 31, 2016
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