So, I often see articles where persons speak about how much of a blessing it is to have a sibling/child with Down Syndrome (DS). Honestly, I struggle with this sentiment. Do I love my sister? Absolutely. I think she’s a fabulous chick. I also think what makes her fabulous has nothing to do with DS…it’s who she is as a person…it would still exist if she didn’t have DS. That being said…does having a sibling with a disability positively affect who I am? Yes, it has helped me to be a kinder, more understanding person and now I am an advocate for persons with DS.
To me, this is not reason enough for me to be happy my sister has DS or think it’s a blessing. I cannot be happy that my sibling is at a disadvantage in society. Society is how it is right now…yes, us advocates are fighting for change…but until change comes, life is what it is. The fact is, persons with DS are not catered for in present society…education, employment, social activities are not set up in such a way to facilitate persons who are deemed “different”, so most things are a battle. Why would I be happy that my sister has constant battles to fight? I accept the struggles, and we face them as a family, but why would I be happy about this?
And the thought that my sister’s struggles are here to make me “a better person” is very one sided…it’s actually quite selfish. What about her? How is DS benefitting her? I believe in accepting the cards life has dealt you and making the best of things. I also wish my sister didn’t have a continuous uphill battle to fight. Hopefully someday, the reality for persons with DS will change and they will be seen as equals and deserving of all the things the rest of us have the privilege to readily access, e.g. education, relationships and employment.