As a child growing up with something, later finding out it was cerebral palsy, meant my disability would become part of my family’s life too. Trying to manage any disability around family is difficult.
I didn’t know what was wrong with me, let alone how what was wrong with me would affect us all, but years later and a comment that was made by one of my siblings, reinforced those thoughts.
From a parents point of view, it is difficult to know what’s best or how to deal with raising a child with a physical or mental disability, without ignoring their other children. However hard a parent tries, their attention will always turn to the child that struggles. It’s the nature of raising a child with a disability.
All my hospital, exercise and physiotherapy appointments were met, but all my other issues were overlooked. My neurological problems were never aired or discussed. With the help of outside intervention, it is important for parents to be open and honest about what the family deal with, because they look after a child or a sibling with a disability.
It is also important parents explain to their other children in a language their children will understand, why their sister or brother needs the extra help. When nothing is discussed and the parents’ attention turns to the child that needs the most help, it is inevitable their other children will struggle too.
As a general rule, children are happy to go with something once they’ve had things explained to them. I am sure any child would be happy to help their brother or sister, if it meant they got the help they needed, because they deal with a disability.
In families, problems arise when attention is given to the child with the disability, and his or her siblings are continually being left out, and ignored.