Happy Denzel Day
In case you didn’t know we recently celebrated Denzel Day (pictured on the left). Denzel Day is not his birthday, but simply a day to celebrate Denzel. Dante (our son with PWS), gets a lot of attention at our Scotiabank One SMALL Step Walkathon (http://onesmallstep.fpwr.org). As parents of a special needs child we also worry about our son Denzel (without PWS) getting enough attention, which led to the creation of Denzel Day. Every year, Denzel picks the activity for the day and we head off as a family. We went to a water park this year and both Dante and Denzel had a blast.
For us its a good reminder that having a sibling with special needs can be stressful. A few common issues for siblings can be:
- Setting abnormally high expectations on themselves to ‘compensate’ for their sibling with special needs
- Feeling like they need to ‘parent’ or take care of their sibling, even though they are young children themselves
- Feeling a lack of one-on-one time with their parents
- Being resentful of having to explain, support, and/or take care of their brother/sister
- Feeling embarrassed about their siblings differences and them ashamed about feeling embarrassed
It is also important to remember that siblings will end up having the longest relationship with each other, and not with their parents. For more information on the challenges of siblings you can take a look here or here
For me, what I have observed is that our PWS siblings are some of the most kind, patient and compassionate children I have ever seen. Denzel routinely makes accommodations in games he plays with Dante to ensure everyone has fun. He also uses these skills with his friends in different social environments. What may be the most important part is to make sure our typically developed children live their own lives. I can tell you Denzel loves soccer, super heros and math. Really. He is just as likely to ask you who is stronger Hulk or Superman, as to ask you what Infinity minus Infinity equals
As a proud father I could go on and on, but I guess all I wanted to say was … Happy Denzel Day!