My Brother is Special My Brother has Down Syndrome: A Story About AcceptanceAuthor: Marta Schmidt-Mendez MA : 2018
In My Brother is Special, My Brother has Down Syndrome, Oscar is embarrassed to share information about his brother Andrew at his school’s Open House. He tells his parents he only wants to bring his soccer ball to the event. His parents are sad but supportive. As the story progresses, Oscar loses something of value to him. He is very upset and has a difficult time coping with the loss. His younger brother, notices and wants to do something nice for his older sibling. By this small deed, Oscar comes to realize that his little brother may have Down syndrome but he also has feelings and a lot of love to give. After the initial surprise of learning that a child has Down syndrome, parents with other children, also struggle with how to explain to their older children about their sibling’s diagnosis. It’s very important to accept that it is normal to have fears, concerns and misconceptions about Down syndrome. Your children may have the same concerns and fears that you do or they may have others that impact them more directly. Talk openly and honestly. Give them special time and permission to discuss their feelings, no matter what those feelings might be. Don’t take concerns, or negative comments personally. Everyone in the family will need guidance, education and support to know as much as possible about what the child’s development will be like. Explaining Down syndrome to siblings is an ongoing discussion to be had whenever issues arise. Having open lines of communication with siblings gives them the opportunity to be supported and informed and to better handle their feelings, whether they be feelings of anger, frustration or jealousy. These life lessons will be important, not just in relation to the impacted sibling, but will help your child become a responsible, empathic adult.