Video: Understanding the special needs of siblings of special-needs children

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LatinaLista — In 2010, a little over 5 percent of school-aged children were identified as having special needs, usually referring to mental or physical disabilities.

Yet, in reality, special needs children can embody any child that requires more than the average amount of parenting. Whether that child has Downs Syndrome or is a drug addict, any child who poses a constant worry to their parents can also meet that definition of special needs.

In families with special needs children, parents are overextended in parenting these children while holding down a job and running the household. Too many times, there aren’t any leftover hours to share with the brothers and sisters of special needs children.

It’s a situation that San Antonio businesswoman Alicia Arenas knows too well.

Coming from a family where one brother was autistic and another had a terminal illness, Arenas was the only child who was “normal.” Yet, as she shares in the featured TEDx lecture, her parents, and everyone else, seemed to look right through her as if she wasn’t there.

For the simple fact that she was normal, Arenas says that her disability was having to be the punching bag to her brother’s autistic outbursts and the shoulder to cry on for family members over her terminally ill brother. Arenas shares that siblings, like her, are known as “glass children.”

In a very honest presentation, Arenas shares her life story and challenges parents and the community to help Glass Children and their families by doing very simple actions that can mean the world to a Glass Child.

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