Dear Typically Developing Children of Mine, I’m not sorry your brother has special needs.
When I first received your brother’s Down syndrome diagnosis, the first coherent thought I had was, “Poor him”, which quickly turned to “poor you.” I exited the present and started living in your futures.
What if someone made fun of you for having a brother who was different? What if I got too overwhelmed with his special needs and forgot about your needs? All I could think about was how this wasn’t fair to you.
What I failed to think about in those first few weeks was how wonderful his diagnosis could be for you.
I didn’t understand the complex world of disability then, I’m still working to understand its many nuances, but one thing I am sure about is this: I’m not sorry your brother has Down syndrome.
When you see your brother working hard to accomplish something that comes so naturally to you, I pray you learn humility. When you are tempted to judge someone based on his or her appearance, I pray you think of your brother and how he will be judged.
I know you may grow up sooner than your peers, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Because of your brother, I hope you can by-pass some of the shallowness that comes with youth.