Thursday, February 12, 2009

How has having children with learning disabilities affected the older student/sibling?

That is a very interesting question. Our oldest has never known any different. At times she would follow my example and get angry that they were not catching on. I think she thought, like I did, that they were just lazy and not really trying. That frustrated her to no end. She was also worried about ourside family and what she would say to them. It did become easier for her when we found out about the ‘disabilities’ we were looking at and actually labeled them. She let me do the research but always wanted an update. She often offered her opinions that helped me decide what issues we were dealing with.

She also defended them at times. She was in a girls group for awhile and when the next daughter joined; the other girls made fun of her for not reading. Our oldest wasted no time in defending her sister. She wasn’t embarrassed by her. That would be different if they were in school, I think. Our oldest felt like she had invested herself in raising and teaching her sister right along with me. She felt a little guilty that her sister wasn’t reading, just like like I did. She also saw how hard her sister really worked to read one word, she saw for herself that her sister was very smart even though it didn’t look to this group of girls.

Last year we decided that the math program we were using was too difficult for the ones with the learning issues. I would never have thought that our oldest had learning issues and yet she asked if she could change programs as well. In all of our searching for what worked in the other kiddos the oldest paid close attention to her own learning styles. She now asks for stuff that works better for her. I think that will give her a huge advantage in college. She will know how to search out help if she needs it. Knowing when to ask for help is an important skill to learn in life.

I don't think she is burdened by any of it. I really believe she is a better student based on her siblings and their issues. If anything she has learned the kindness and compasion that we all need to succeed in life. She is closer to heaven having had to learn to deal with it all.

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