rebelling against low expectations

How can I serve my disabled siblings?


ANONYMOUS WRITES: I just finished My Old Bones by Kaylee Grace, and it showed me that I really need to be more thoughtful toward my siblings. Each of my siblings has different limitations (one has Down syndrome, another has trouble walking, and the third is partially blind) but I know that I could be a lot kinder to all of them. I’d love to hear any ideas on how to do that, especially if you have a disability or know someone who does.

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  • Hi, i thought your article was interesting. I have hearing problems. I believe the best way to help someone with a disablilty is to help them, defend them from others, and love them. I suggest you read Proverbs 31:9 might be 8.

    • I agree with you. I have a family member who is slightly autistic. One of the best ways I can serve him is by treating him well, especially in public. Some treat him poorly, which hurts me to watch, but at the same time, I know I sometimes do the same thing. So yes, I especially agree with your point to defend them from others by loving them and treating them well.

  • I have a family member with minor to moderate limitations. We help this family member out by trying to help him overcome his limitation. Most importantly, we need to let these guys know that their limitation doesn’t define them or limit the way we love them. Hope this helps!

  • Hello Anonymous, I don’t have any experience with a sibling with a disability like you are describing….So please take what I have to say with a grain of salt..
    Even though none of my brothers have a disability, one of them behaves a bit abnormally. He literally contains uncontrollable energy and often can’t control some of his behaviors (not quite like Tourette’s Syndrome..but similar); (but, even though he’s young, he possesses incredible intelligence!) His random outbursts of loud obnoxious noises can be quite embarrassing to me. Even though they may not be socially appropriate, I have to continue to love my brother. If I’m being 100% honest, sometimes I don’t like being around him or want him to come along with me to places because his behavior is embarrassing…But that’s not the right heart! I should desire my brother’s company and lovingly help him learn better how to act in public.
    Also, we have some good friends who have an adopted daughter with severe disabilities. She is paralyzed from her waist down and only possesses a small part of each of her legs. With these disabilities come many challenges!! However, this family treats her just like all the other children. I don’t mean they ignore her disabilities, but they don’t constantly draw attention to them or make her feel inferior or incapable. Instead, they encourage her that she CAN do what other kids can do! And if she can’t do all of those things in the same capacity other kids can, they find a way…they include her in everything! And this girl is simply amazing! She walks on her hands, so she is INCREDIBLY strong (she takes a lot of pride in her arm-wrestling skills) and she always wears a smile! And I think her attitude has a lot to do with her family’s love and encouragement..!
    So what I’m saying in short is: be inclusive of your siblings. Encourage them that they CAN do things! Even if they can’t in the same way we can, find a way to include them in some capacity (for example, the girl from my story can’t rollerskate, but she can lay on a skateboard and race around!). I don’t have a disability myself so I wouldn’t know from experience, but I would venture to guess it would make their hearts smile to know they are wanted, capable, helpful, and are able to accomplish things!
    Hope this is at least a bit helpful.!

  • I would highly recommend building your relationships with your siblings as strong as you can before you move out of the house, because after that (especially if you move faaaaar away) it gets pretty hard.

  • I can totally relate to your question as two of my three brothers have major some major special needs. I think that sometimes what helps me is when I take time to do things that they like to do, even when I find it annoying. Like typing out a story that my older brother has made up in his head….even though it takes a very long time. Or playing strange make believe games with my youngest bro. They think its awesome, even if it’s only for ten minutes. When I first started trying to become more involved with them ten minutes seemed like forever, but know I can see how it has helped me grow as a person and brought us closer together. Also look into Camp Barnabas. It is an amazing summer camp for kids with special need and their siblings. Everyone (no matter the disability) is able to do everything, like high ropes course, water slides, canoeing, and so much more. I have been able to make some amazing connections there with other siblings and we are able to encourage each other.

    • Also I find that it helps a lot whenever I ask them to help me with things I need to get done. My youngest brother (who is partially paralyzed) can hand me silverware to put away from the dishwasher….or my other brother can quiz me with flashcards, when I have to study. That way you can spend time with them even when you have a lot to do

  • One of the things anyone can do for their siblings, disabled or not, is show them respect. They are human beings created in God’s image, but honoring them as such can be hard. I know I need to work more on this with my own siblings as well. At home, in public, or around friends we need to respect our siblings and show them and the people around us that they are special, wanted, and loved 🙂

  • Hi Anonymous, I struggle with an illness which can be extremely debilitating and discouraging at times. I think it’s great that you want to show more love to your siblings! But I understand your feeling of not sure how to. There are three things which really bless me when I family does them. Of course everyone is different, but when your dealing with an illness sometimes it’s nice to have someone to talk to, just to hear how you feel. I don’t know how old your siblings are, but if there older try to find a time on a regular basis to get deep with them. Find out what they’re really struggling with, especially in their thought life. It’s easy to get drug down with frustrating thoughts, and it often takes a load off when I can just honestly share those thoughts. Also serving them in performing tasks with cheerfulness which might be hard or impossible for them in their life I’m sure would speak a lot. The many times when I must be carried my family has jumped to the occasion. Even though they could have shrunk from embarrassment they instead joyfully carried me. Also, when my family laughs with me about my illness, helping me to see it as God sees it, an opportunity to grow in Jesus. Be that person in your siblings lives who constantly remind them that they are not inferior and their circumstances are a tremendous blessing and opportunity from the Lord.
    Hope this helps!
    By His breath, Dorothy Elaine

  • Hi Anonymous, I’m not just sure what to say here, but I think everybody gave really good ideas. Brett might have something to say about this since his wife has Lyme.

  • My brother has autism and bipolar (mental illnesses). H’s about five years older than me, so there isn’t that much that I know I can do for him. What I can do, is to have patience and kindness. Patience when he makes inappropriate comments at church or wherever, patience when he takes 10 minutes to tell you something that would normally take half the time to say and it’s not even something you are remotely interested in, patience when he sings and plays loud music at midnight when you want to go to sleep.

  • I admire that you want to serve your siblings. Family is a very important cornerstone of all relationships on earth. How we treat them can really show how we will treat our future families and spouses.

    I can relate to the part about having siblings with disabilites. My younger brother has ADHD, Bipolar, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. They may not be illnesses you can see at first glance, which makes it hard for other people to understand.

    I’ve learned that patience and love is very important. Love hard, but pray harder. You can serve them by spending time with them. Make food with/for them. Hang out with them. Randomly suprise them with something they really enjoy.

    I hope this helps! God bless!

rebelling against low expectations

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