He Ain’t Heavy
Nowadays most people know someone with a family member on the autism spectrum. It has become so prevalent that people who meet our family—with our younger son clearly dealing with challenges due to his autism—quickly tell us that a nephew, a cousin, a granddaughter, or a friend’s friend is dealing with similar challenges.
Much attention is paid to the struggles of parents trying to help their special needs children. Emotional stress, financial stress, the stress of trying to interact with society when your family doesn’t fit in easily.
Only in recent years has more attention been paid to siblings of special needs family members. Whatever disability one child may be dealing with—physical, cognitive, emotional—it means that the “typically developing” siblings often get sidelined. Parents are relentlessly “putting out fires” on the health front, school front, safety and survival front for the child with more urgent struggles.
In siblings whose needs were unavoidably put on the backburner, a spirit of generosity and understanding often shines through. It is a bright spot reached through adversity.
Our older son takes it upon himself to take his younger brother by the hand when we go on hikes. “You go ahead, I’ve got Sean,” he says, offering tired parents brief respite to shoot photos, or just stop and gaze at the scenery.
Thanks to all the siblings who help their special needs brothers and sisters. We know it’s not easy!
This week’s Hike Notes, Oak Woodlands Trail-Golden Gate Park, takes readers on a scenic, woodsy trail hidden right in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. We discovered this trail for the first time recently despite living right by Golden Gate Park for decades!
Please feel free to share. If you’re not able to take one of these Northern California hikes, hopefully you can enjoy the photos! Check the Home page for the broader background story.
The list of hikes is getting long! Please check the Quick View Hike List or scroll down the main Hikes page to see the current list of hike notes.
New this week:
Hike Notes 78: Oak Woodlands Trail-Golden Gate Park
Sharing insights and hiking highlights (Hikes, Hike Search by Area) from the special needs caregiver front in San Francisco.