Columns

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…

Dealing with the Emotional Toll of Sanfilippo Syndrome

Parents of terminally ill and special-needs children experience a multitude of emotions. Our feelings lie across a wide spectrum, and sometimes we feel many emotions at once. Each person’s reaction is different, too — no two parents are exactly alike. However, I think that we all experience similar feelings at…

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…

Feeling Isolated While Parenting a Sanfilippo Child

Raising a special-needs child can be isolating. You think no other child is like yours, and other parents won’t understand the daily challenges you face. When I thought my daughter Abby had autism, I didn’t join a support group or seek out other moms of children with autism. I felt…

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…

Parenting Siblings with Different Needs

Children with Sanfilippo syndrome often have neurotypical siblings. These are rough waters for parents to navigate. You love them equally, but how do you adequately care for their differing needs? My oldest daughter, Abby, has Sanfilippo syndrome. Her sister, Emily, is unaffected. Emily is incredibly smart, beautiful, kind, and…