Hello once again, you lovely bunch!
I decided that I would do a spontaneous post today, a subject which is very much close to my heart. I am the sister of someone who suffers from special needs.
There is so much stigma attached to people who are disabled/ have special needs and I would be lying if I said that it did not rile me up. However, in recent years, I have learnt that death staring at people is not going to help, and it is much more effective to talk instead and educate them.
From what me and my family are aware of, my brother, Daniel, has suffered from special needs since birth. It is extremely difficult to say what he suffers from, because both us and doctors do not really know. ADHD is very likely one factor, but obviously there are probably other conditions that may be involved. Communication with Daniel can be difficult because he is unable to verbally communicate, so everyone who knows him tries to use different techniques in order to understand him, such as sign language or using PEC cards. PEC cards have different pictures of objects, food and activities on, which my brother can then point at to show what he wants to say.
There are so many different conditions out there, making it difficult for people who do not know my brother or others who disabled to know what to say. I completely understand. You want to communicate and get to know the person in question, but you do not want to accidentally cause offense or upset. Am I right?
My advise, regarding that, is to just be honest. The individuals and those close to them will respect you more for it and then it removes the elephant from the room. You will then be able to educate yourself on knowing someone who is disabled and build a strong bond with that person without worrying that you are going to hit a nerve.
Being a close family member of someone who is disabled can be very difficult; I will never deny that. There has been tears, anger and anxiety throughout the years. There have been times when I was younger when I wanted all these family issues to disappear. I am 18 years old now, and I wouldn’t change any of that heartache. I have seen Daniel go through some unimaginably awful stigma, and things became even more difficult when he had to go to residential special school.However, I have seen my younger brother turn into a wonderful, intelligent young man who has so much love for everyone he comes across. What really warmed my heart is when I saw him go over to one of my bestfriends on my birthday and give her a little cuddle!
Of course there is always that anxiety about what the future holds for him, but that will be focused on by my family and others who support him when those challenges arise. I am proud to be his older sister, an advocate for him, as well as being his bestfriend. In all honesty, every disabled person that I have come across have been some of the kindest and most lovable human beings that you could ever meet. For anyone who has a tendency to mock those who are disabled; please think more carefully and thoughtfully.