Without a shadow of a doubt, David is extremally lucky to have two siblings that have completely changed his life. I feel I was in a lucky situation to have David as my firstborn and there are 5 years between him and his siblings (twins, boy and girl) as I feel from a parent’s perspective that David had all that time and early intervention before I had twins.
I also have to say I had nothing to compare him to and that could be good or bad as I had no preconceptions of what milestones David should be achieving when he was 5, 6, or 7, if I had I think I would have panicked earlier. Lots of parents I know say that their older child brought on the child with additional needs.
All I know is to be thankful for what I have.
I was worried when I became pregnant with twins how this would affect David because he was “spoilt rotten”. The world revolved around him being my first child and to this day David believes the world still revolves around him! Let’s just say no matter what conditions he has, he is extremely confident and happy and that in turn was a blessing and something I’ve never taken for granted.
David has a great attribute in that he is not jealous – he doesn’t have that ability. What a wonderful emotion not to have and what a beautiful mind to live it. So, I didn’t need to fear because when the twins were born David was delighted to have not only a sister or brother but to have two, he was thrilled and wanted to mind them and couldn’t bear if they cried or became upset.
I thought at this time David’s world had turned upside down (as mine had) but all for the right reasons. The twins grew up with David and as they were younger, they just took it all in their stride and accepted David and his friends and never noticed the dis-ability. They spent hours in waiting room/playrooms with David and other children of mixed abilities growing up and attended summer camps for children with disabilities and their siblings and enjoyed it and had fun.
It did upset me a little as my twin never could get out of a car and run to the playground as they always had to wait for the wheelchair to be put together, then they both hold onto the sides as we walked to the park. We always had to find a designated spot for them to come back to and all in my vision and if we had to leave for David to use the bathroom etc, they had to come too. They never minded or complained I have to say.
Writing this now, I don’t know why? But it was just the way it was.
Now we did have a few obstacles along the way from time to time but it was all good. It was fun for David to see them growing up. As David is not a walker, I was always wondering how he would take it to see them walk, play etc. but it didn’t faze him in the slightest, he even encouraged them to run faster and laughed when they couldn’t score a goal in a match. Getting frustrated with themselves and then their brother laughing at them, it was funny looking back at it.
Sometimes it was exhausting, and I did feel at times the twins needed me and was aware of this. At one stage I asked the Irish Wheelchair Association for help as the twins were getting older and wanted to do things that David was not able or not interested in. The I.W.A gave me a helper for one afternoon a week who would take David out to do what he wanted so I could go and do something with the twins on their own. This worked out very well as David had someone to spoil him even more and loved the interaction with his new helper and the twins knew that on Wednesday afternoon, they could plan something to do with me on their own, it worked out really well.
Sometimes we must ask for help.
I feel the most important thing is to listen to the siblings and make sure they know just how important they are. There is a lot of courses now available in organisations and schools that have Sibshops etc, so maybe check it out, it may help.
No one knows what we could have done differently but I do know that we as parents will always do our best.
I asked the twins to write an article on what it was like to be a sibling of David and the answer I got was “you’re not going to ask me to do that are you. What do you mean what was it like? it was grand. I didn’t know any different” …. so there you are. 😊