The Brothers and Sisters of Our Hurt Kids Make Great Parents
Baby Sarah at five months with Mom and Dad
One of the common, and sadly, enduring myths is that when a family has a child with a serious neurological problem the well children in the family will suffer because the hurt child will get all the attention. Over sixty years of living night and day with the families of hurt children has taught us that the truth is exactly the opposite. The brothers and sisters of our hurt kids are wonderful brothers and wonderful sisters who adore their hurt brother or sister and they grow up to be wonderful and amazing adults.
Of course they do.
They grow up in a household that is set up for enrichment and opportunity with parents who see helping others as a privilege. Our parents make certain that brothers and sisters are an integral part of the program to help their hurt brother or sister. So it was for Daphne. She was part of everything her Mother did every day with her brother who was severely brain-injured.
The best training to be a mother
Today she is herself a Mother for the first time. It turns out that all that time spent doing the program with her brother and her mother was a wonderful training program to be a mother herself. Here is her story:
Sarah at one month
“I grew up with The Institutes program”
“My name is Daphne and I am the sister of a 27 year old brain-injured brother. For 12 years, I grew up with The Institutes program with Glenn Doman and the staff as the backbone for my brother’s education. My mother was his primary caregiver, teacher and champion.”
“I recently became a mother. This journey into motherhood has been such an amazing and humbling experience. Seeing how Sarah thirsts for person-to-person interaction and stimulation has filled me with awe at the innocence and limitless potential of a baby. Now that I am on the other side of this parent-child relationship, it became even clearer to me how special this bond is. Never have I been challenged more than in these past few months to grow in patience and to find that fine balance of being loving yet firm.”
“Nothing could have prepared us for parenthood. However, in preparation for our first child, my husband and I talked extensively about the right environment in which to bring up our children.”
The freedom to explore
“We wanted Sarah to grow up in a space where she had the freedom to explore her world. That meant lots of tummy time, bare feet, giving her various sensations (e.g. rolling, rocking, bouncing), no screen time, lots of communication and person-to-person time. We anchored our parenting on the basis of respect for the child - that we tell the child what we plan to do and we give the child time to respond.”
Sarah at 14 weeks of age reading with an expert - grandma
“Intellectual stimulation came in the form of reading and when we go to grandma’s house, we would take out the old Bits, math cards and mandarin cards to engage with her. Sarah loves these sessions!”
Putting the cup to her mouth at 4 months
“The best gift that we could have ever asked for”
“It is wonderful to see Sarah at 4 months already having good grasping skills and attempting to get on all fours into a creeping position. She enjoys reading time and learning time. Sarah enjoys babbling and has a growing repertoire of sounds and tones. She is generally a happy child and she has a tremendous love for learning and this is the best gift that we could have ever asked for.”
Sarah pushing up to creep at only 14 weeks
Sarah and Daphne have just begun their journey together but there is little doubt Sarah already has a wonderful start. The dedication and hard work of her grandmother and grandfather to make sure that their hurt child was not left behind has shaped the life of her Mother in so many positive ways. Those ways are hard to calculate.
Grandfather with baby Sarah and her Uncle Kenny
Grandmother and Sarah beginning a life-long relationship of learning together
His victories were her victories
Daphne was a vital part of a real team working to give her brother a fighting chance to have a real life. Her brother’s victories were her victories; her brother’s frustrations were her frustrations. Her family was a team saving the life of a family member. Win or lose, they fought the good fight to find a solution.
Kenny and Sarah
Now Daphne’s own children will have the benefit of the same enrichment and opportunity and hopefully they will pass that same benefit on to their own children.