Relationship Series: A Sibling with Special Needs
By: Ashley, monthly contributor and Speech Pathologist
Having a sibling with special needs is a reality that not everyone can understand. I grew up with a younger brother who has an intellectual disability and a medical diagnosis of autism. Growing up with him as my only sibling was definitely not easy, but I did not know any different. This was my normal. Not until I was an adult did I start to reflect and learn more about my experience as a sibling.
My brother had and still has significant needs and behaviors. He struggles the most with aggressive behaviors caused by difficulty with communication. We have a very unique bond that is not your typical sibling bond. Branden thinks, communicates, and loves very differently than your typical sibling. We don’t necessarily have much conversation, but just spending time with him is one of his favorite things. He loves to come along for the car ride with you just to get out of the house and see others. It’s the simple little things in life that make him the happiest.
I just get to love him and learn from him
Branden is the reason I am a Speech Pathologist. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be in a helping profession. After observing and picking all kinds of professionals brains about their careers during my undergrad at UC Irvine, I decided Speech and Language Pathology was where I needed to be. Branden truly inspires me. As his older sister, I have learned through trial and error that I don’t have to worry about being anyone or anything but his sister. I am not his speech therapist. I just get to love him and learn from him.
Love you, B.