Author Archives: Emily Wallis

Finding the Unity in Disability

If I don’t have a topic in mind when it’s time to write a column, I read articles. I look into the lives of other siblings of special needs individuals, delving into the struggles, pains, and joys of their respective experiences. From this, I usually find…

Spending Quality Time with My Sister, Abby

I spent a lot of time with Abby a couple of weeks ago. Her caregiver was sick, so I knew I’d be spending several days with her. I had two options: I could be angry at Sanfilippo syndrome, which makes caregiving necessary in the first place, and fall…

The Day I Broke Down and Sanfilippo Won

It’s been a while since I’ve had what I consider a “depressive episode.” I had one this week. Some may argue that feeling low for a few hours shouldn’t qualify as an episode, and I’m not trying to diminish the severity of depression. However, the crippling…

With the New Year Comes Difficult Feelings

Jan. 1 always brings up difficult feelings for me. Even before Sanfilippo syndrome entered our lives, New Year’s was a holiday for reflection — which isn’t necessarily an easy thing to process. Each year, thoughts about what the coming year has in store and what next Jan. 1 will look…

Dealing with Jealousy and Other Emotions

In this column, I want to focus on a word that has been particularly difficult for me to talk about in the past. While it has synonyms such as envy or desire, this week I’m writing about the “J” word: jealousy. It’s hard not to be jealous sometimes when particular…

My Advice to Other Sanfilippo Siblings

I recently read a column about a teen whose brother has special needs. A lot of what the author said was spot on. She described what I experienced with my sister, Abby, when I was younger. As I read it, I thought about the small, often overlooked population of Sanfilippo…

Growing Closer with My Dad

My relationship with my dad has always been about tough love. He has very high expectations for me, we’re both quick-tempered, and we have plenty of disagreements. When I was younger, my dad was strict because he knew I was smart and should have behaved better. We had our share…

Sanfilippo Weighs on My Relationships

This week, I want to shed some light on a special group of people who carry me through this trying and emotional life as a Sanfilippo sibling: my friends. I didn’t know how my sister Abby’s diagnosis of Sanfilippo syndrome would affect my friendships. I was carrying…