Juliet is the 9-year-old younger sister of an individual with ADHD and dyslexia. In the interview, Juliet reflects on how her sister's challenges affect their relationship and Juliet's day-to-day experiences. Juliet also gives advice to other siblings of children with developmental disabilities.
Could you please tell me about your older sister and her challenges?
She has ADHD, and it can make her angry kind of easily. And if she’s doing something annoying and I ask her to stop, she might not stop. And then she just keeps and keeps doing it. So most of the time, I have to move around her. But she also has dyslexia. And she has a hard time making friends, but she has a best friend.
Have you noticed how her Dyslexia has affected her reading?
Sometimes when we’re in the car, my mom gives us words, and we try to spell them, and usually, it's harder for her to spell the words. But she usually does well. She reads a little slower than most of her friends. Because they all read the same series, say, but she just like doesn't finish them as fast. Also, when I read with her, she might not get a word, so I try to help her, but then she gets frustrated because I’m younger.
When your sister has strong emotions, such as anger, how do you react?
Sometimes I go into my room. But she usually calls me things for going into my room like a baby, and I get really frustrated. And sometimes, I start by asking her politely to stop doing something, but she still doesn’t. And then when I ask her again, a lot of times, she gets really annoyed with me and then starts getting angry. So I just go to my room and maybe talk to her later in the day. I worked with a therapist who gave me and her techniques. Like I would remind my sister of what to do, and she would say it’s none of my business and that I don’t have to worry about her. It made me really angry because I was trying to help.
What are some other ways that her challenges affect you?
Like, she interrupts me and yells a lot because of her ADHD, and she one of her ears has bad hearing. And it’s really loud.
Do you see a difference when she takes her medication?
When she doesn't take your medication, she's hyper, and when she does take it, she’s more calm. But also, when she takes it, she doesn’t really want to hang out with me and gets annoyed with me. She gets really angry and kind of blows up.
Do you tell your friends about your sister’s challenges?
No, I don’t tell my friends except for my best friend, she’s the only one who knows. I just talk about it with my parents
Do you have any advice for kids with siblings with similar challenges to your sisters?
I would say to take space. So taking time away, and even if you are ready, the other person may not be ready yet. And if you just start wanting to play with them, they might get upset. Like, sometimes that happens with me. Maybe learn some breathing exercises because that helps me. Also, my sister has a big heart and usually gets over it really easily. So you have to be ready to forgive them. I like to punch pillows when I’m angry but can’t make my sister more mad.