Monday, April 30, 2012

Sibling Love

My boys have a special gift.  Not only are they brothers, they are twins.  And I am always amazed and so proud with the love and support that William gives to Davey.  And the way my daughters love and support their brothers is such an amazing blessing.  My girls are incredible.  When I meet a sibling of a person with Down Syndrome, I am always amazed at the love and support between the siblings.  It makes me proud.

Here is a nice article about sibling love and people with Down Syndrome.

Sibling Love

While parents would brush off rude stares from the public, siblings of children with Down Syndrome admit to being more aggressive and confrontational. For them, it is a chance to educate the unlearned...
April 30, 2012, 10:45am

WORKING TOGETHER — Members of the Sibling Support Group (above) participate in a workshop organized by the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines (right).
WORKING TOGETHER — Members of the Sibling Support Group (above) participate in a workshop organized by the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines (right).
MANILA, Philippines — It’s not unusual for parents of children with disabilities to be part of support groups to help them cope with their situations.
But siblings too have been doing their share, even forming groups like the Sibling Support Group (SSG).
Earlier this year, a group of children of parents from the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines, Inc. (DSAPI) held their first workshop to connect and empower siblings when it comes to information dissemination campaign of what Down Syndrome (DS) is all about. The workshop was dedicated to the life-long concerns of brothers and sisters in providing peer support.
“We thought we could ask the help of the siblings to contribute. A lot of moms and dads are very active because we have a very strong parent support group,” explains DSAPI manager Adette de la Paz.
Forty-two-year old De la Paz, whose younger brother, Ronald, 20, has DS, believes that this kind of group will help siblings in so many ways, especially that in the natural order of things, they are next in line in taking care of their special siblings.
“We felt it was important. At our first workshop, sobrang emotional, puro iyakan ang nangyari because we never had a chance to process. We also had to talk about the responsibility that we have to face,” De la Paz shares.
“In our first session, we had a chance to bring it all out, what we felt when we found out about our siblings with DS and how we reacted to it. We also found a venue to discuss the future of our siblings. We know that our parents won’t live forever and we will soon take care of our brothers and sisters,” explains 24-year-old Marian Reyes.
Marian, the proud sister of 17-year-old Clara,  says that with SSG, they get to relate with people who feel the same way since the point of view of parents are totally different from theirs.
“Maganda ‘yung support group kasi meron kang malalapitan. Iba ‘yung point of view ng mom and dad, iba ang point of view ng magkakapatid. Ngayon na magkakasama kami, meron kaming iisang language,” Marian says.
For one, while parents took months or even years to accept that they have a child with DS, siblings do not normally pass through the acceptance stage.
“My sister Patricia and I never had an acceptance stage. I was only six years old when I found out. For me it was no big deal, I had no idea what DS was. Basta for me, I had a new sibling, a new baby brother,” shares 21-year-old Sarah Lapeña.
The Lapeña sisters didn’t really think that their younger brother Jeremy, who is now 16 years old, was different since they were all growing up together and everything seemed normal for them.
“I remember when I was young, everything that Jeremy did was a milestone – mag crawl siya or something, sobrang big deal. Compared to us, we didn’t remember being praised for something like that. For me it was nothing but my parents explained to us right away, like he would be slower. For me, I was like, he’s a baby, of course he will be slower. What are they talking about? But as I grew older, I became more conscious about the acceptance by other people. People won’t accept him right away, like how we feel about Jeremy,” Sarah adds.
The siblings also admit that they tend to be more overprotective of their brother or sister with DS than their parents. While parents would brush off rude stares from the public, siblings admit to being more aggressive and confrontational. For them, it is a chance to educate the “unlearned.’’
“It hurts so much when people insult Jeremy. The hurt and anger are different. Jeremy is so loveable, can’t you see it? Don’t you get it? It comes so naturally for us because we grew up with them. It’s not something we have to understand. Like me, I’m in education and people are asking me if I would take up Education but I kind of already know what it is, 16 years with Jeremy. So for people who insult, please don’t. It’s so frustrating,” Sarah says.
“Recently, I heard some people making fun of DS like it’s a weird thing. They were talking about one officemate, who is a little bit weird, and they classified him as someone who has Down Syndrome. I got mad and eventually I gave them a lecture on DS that it is not a contagious disease that you stay away from or make fun of. Eventually they knew it was a sensitive matter and they also met Clara, and they thanked me because I opened their eyes,” Marian adds.
SSG also aims to educate people and help the organization, DSAPI.
“It’s also an extension. Parents are busy in the organization and they create awareness. Aside from helping the parents,  we take care of the kids through the activities we organize,” explains 33-year-old Janine Laygo-Libera, sister of 20-year-old Justin.
Their first event was to assist in some of the activities of this year’s Happy Walk, which was held last February. They have plans on conducting more sibling workshops since their members already doubled after they started early this year.
SSG also plans on doing different activities for their siblings with DS like art, pottery and dance classes. It is important that the group is doing these activities independently of their parents who are busy with raising awareness about DS.
But ultimately, their aim is for their siblings to be accepted by society.
“Having a brother with DS is not a downside, it’s actually a good bargain. Now, no 16-year-old brother hugs their ate. Jeremy sleeps besides us pa rin. You’ll be surprised with what they can do to you. Jeremy has a purpose. I’m a teacher because of Jeremy. I have 11 three-year-olds, I’m alone in the classroom. My mom doesn’t understand where I get my patience but it’s from Jeremy! They give us purpose as family members,” Sarah says.
“People with DS are not really disabled. They’re just like you and me and we might as well accept them in society and make them live their lives. Don’t judge them, they are really simple people. Every little thing in life is most precious to them. A simple ‘I love you’, a simple hug – that’s what matters to them,” Marian ends.

Be gentle.


  1. That has to be my favourite picture of the boys, the one of them together with the dog. It always makes me smile.

    Your blog has always given me so much hope for the future. Thank you.

  2. Ah Jen. Your babies are going to grow up to be incredible individuals. You are such a great mom and advocate.


  3. What gorgeous kids you have! It's really nice to hear how siblings get along as they grow up. We're 5 years in and we have our highs and lows, but you get that in all families, so it's almost a relief that it's not great all the time, you know what I mean?

    Thanks for joining in the blog hop again x

  4. Ye4s, totally understand Renata.

    I love your blog and the blog hop. Thanks for letting me join!

  5. Hey
    Great site. I hope you will check out mine eventhough it is in danish
    Alle the best


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