“Growing up,” Corinne says, “I was always just told that she had Down Syndrome, but she was always just my sister, so it never really made a difference.” Corinne shares life with a sister with Down syndrome wasn’t always easy, but it definitely wasn’t worse at all, in fact in many ways it was better.
Walking into public places and seeing people stare at her little sister Vanessa, didn’t make her feel embarrassed, Corinne would “beam with pride.” Things weren’t always perfect of course, like any sisters they even fought from time to time as all sisters do.
One major difference, however, is Vanessa’s always adored her sister. Corrine says, “When I call her and I haven’t talked to her for a few days, it’s like I’m the most important thing in the entire world to her. She gives you a hundred percent of her attention whenever you haven’t seen her for a while.” If all relationships were like this the world would be better and relationships all be stronger.
Children with Special Needs Have More Needs
Children with special needs have more needs, often taking more of a parent’s time than other siblings. It was sometimes difficult for Corinne to give up time with her parents because they were taking care of Vanessa. “But, that was kind of my role as her older sister was to just let myself be ignored a little bit…she does have a few more needs than I do, and that’s fine.”
As she has aged the guilt that came with feeling “ignored” by her parents has turned to teaching opportunities. She is an example to others that sharing the limelight with someone who has “more needs” doesn’t need to be a problem.
Inspiring Positive Attitudes Toward People with Down Syndrome
When Corinne was younger, her friends would ask about her sister because she was different. She said, they never did so with cruelty, just honest curiosity.
Others often don’t understand people with Down Syndrome, and but generally, they are still kind. Unfortunately, not all people are. The hardest part for Corinne is understanding this and knowing she won’t be able to completely protect Vanessa from those people.
Corinne takes heart and knows from firsthand experiences, individuals with disabilities are loving and valuable and worth any extra time they might take to get to know or help. Corinne challenges others to be more considerate when they come across people with Down syndrome or other disabilities.