Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Advocacy #19: Give the siblings a little credit!

on October 19, 2015

It is a little disheartening when people worry (quite intensely) about Ellie’s role in her sister’s life.

My sister does not have any kind of disability.  In reality, someday, she could end up with one.  We all could.  One accident, one illness, one life event that doesn’t go as planned and we may find ourselves needing help.

I would walk my sister to the ends of the earth if she needed it.

In a 2011 study (abstract linked here), 94 percent of siblings age 9 and older expressed feelings of pride about their sibling. 88 percent said they felt they were better people because of their sibling with Down syndrome. Only 4 percent said they would “trade their sibling in” for another.

In our home, Ellie finds plenty of ways to shine, but she also adores her little sister.  I’m not naive enough to think that every day will be fabulous and that there won’t be times when Ellie resents the attention or the treatment that Tessa gets… but believe me, those same feelings will come from Tessa about Ellie as well… as they do in any family situation.

What I am saying is that it is helpful if you just treat them as what they are – siblings.  Not as one being dependent on the other, not as if one may be a burden, but as two sisters who lean on each other for support from time to time.  Often times, advocacy is in the simple act of just letting us be typical.  We are just typical.

These two… typical.

IMG_9539

(Yes, that is a pen drawing on Tessa’s forehead.  Ellie thought she needed a tattoo.)

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