How to Help Your Special-Ed Brother
by Kimberly, 11th (non-fiction)
First. Balloons, bubbles, and flowers-
You see a beautiful premature baby, he has no defects or anything. His eyes are not nearly wide open, but you can see a little pupil. His body is small and red, the color of our latin ancestors, brown.
Second. Weeks pass by, my sister and I are called in by our parents. The news that we are going to have to take extra care of our sibling. ‘Deficiency 13’, cracked skull, are what makes him “different”. I look at him, and see nothing but a healthy baby.
Third. The doctors said he will not be able to talk, they suggested surgery. My parents said no because that meant putting a few weeks old baby to sleep. There were no guarantees if he survived.
Fourth. The doctors once again came, said he would not walk due to his skull and brain. “He will never learn to walk”. My parents fell apart, and us as well. 2 years, and still not crawling…
Fifth. We had him in therapy sessions so he will talk. We wouldn’t give up on him. It was more work, yes. Saying things out loud for him. He proved the doctors wrong. He learned to talk little by little.
Sixth. More therapies, at the doctor, at his school, and at home. They had us make him do exercises on his legs. Every time I would change him, I will grab his small feet and move them in soft but firm circular motions. I will help him. Few months later, he started crawling and holding up his own head. Then he took his own steps, and once again proved them wrong.
Seventh. It doesn’t stop here. He started school, he started mimicking everything. As a sister, don’t be hard on him. Remember, he’s special. He hits you, grab his hands and say “No Brandon, I don’t like it”. He starts to stutter or say a word five times, instead of getting mad and yelling at him, say, “Brandon, only once please”. If he’s throwing a tantrum, don’t make him even more mad, try and calm him down. It’s not healthy for him because he might get a seizure.
Eighth. Teach him manners. Don’t expect him to learn in a few weeks, he functions differently. Have patience with him, and don’t try to get frustrated easily.
Ninth. Try and play and interact with him more after his therapies. Give him 15 minutes of your time, leave homework and friends for later. Talk to him, dance with him, play with him, sing to him. These are things that will help him grow. I want him to live, to learn to live without depending on anyone.
Tenth. 4 years old, he’s only interested in balloons, bubbles and flowers, It’s okay. He may not like the cars and legos we get him yet, but as long as he’s happy. Tell him to be kind to people and animals. To give love, and not hatred.
Eleventh. When you’re outside in public, don’t get mad or embarrassed when he starts yelling or talking loud. Tell him to calm down, but in a good way. You will see eyes glaring at you, but mostly your brother. Give them the evil eye without words. Or don’t pay attention at all because they don’t know what it’s like.
My little brother, how I love you and sorry for not treating you as well. It’s difficult, but God gave him to me for a reason. How much some simple things can change everything. Some balloons, bubbles, and flowers.
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Students 6th-12th Grades