Special Needs: A siblings perspective

Francie Khalaf by Francie Khalaf Additional Needs

Francie Khalaf

Francie Khalaf

I am a wife and mother of two children with cerebral palsy. I believe in making lemonade out of lemons

Recently Quinn has begun speaking for Sawyer.

She will say “He says yes.” or “He says no.” Sawyer is non verbal but is VERY good and his non verbal communication.

She can read his facial expressions. He does have an eye gaze but he’s learning to use it still so we often lean on the communication that he can use most consistently.

It’s very sweet to see her interacting with him in the best way she knows how.

He is very different than her. He can’t speak to her but he has feelings like her and I know she will some day be fiercely protective.

There are many times that Quinn sacrifices her happiness or immediate gratification because she has a brother with special needs.

Her life is truly shaped around Sawyer and many times we have to say no to things because of Sawyer.

I am not sure what the best solution is, do we tell her its because of Sawyer or to we make something up? We often times choose to be honest and explain why we can’t go outside or participate in something.

Quinn does not seem to show her frustrations toward her brother. She accepts them.

I believe whole heartedly this is because not only is she a compassionate kid but also we strive to make up for the sacrifices she makes.

We decide to do something fun inside the house if we can’t go outside.

One parent will take her for a special outing if for some reason we can’t go as a family.

She was allowed more screen time and special field trips and treats for being so good during all of his therapy appointments.

It’s a tough job as a parent to balance and it is even tougher on Quinn.

The key to keeping things running smoothly is treating each of the kids as individuals, providing them things to do separately and together and teaching empathy and understanding.

It’s not often that Sawyer has to sacrifice for Quinn but he does have to sacrifice for himself and although this isn’t something that Quinn can understand now, she will in the future.


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