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Q: I’m 9 years old. My friends are coming over to my house for my birthday party this year. It’s Kung Fu Panda-themed – I love that movie! But my older brother, who’ is 12, has mental retardation. My friends have never met him. I love him, and I’m not embarrassed by him, but I don’t know what to tell my friends. Will they think he’s weird? How do I introduce him?

Sincerely, Little Sister

ask wabi february

R:Hi Little Sister,

Happy birthday! A birthday is a fun day for you and your brother. Although it may be difficult for him to show it, he is happy to be around on your birthday! The best way to deal with your friends is to prepare them for your brother by telling them how special he is! A good example may be, “This is my brother. He has autism and sometimes he makes strange noises, but he knows all the words to Kung Fu Panda!” I’m sure your brother has things that make him special, and by mentioning these, you are making your friends see your brother for more than any “weird” habits he may have. Have a great party!

Sincerely, Wabi

Q: My 1-year-old child was recently diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. My wife and I were caught slightly off guard by the diagnosis. What would you recommend we do to best support our baby daughter?

Sincerely, CP Parent

R: Dear CP Parent,

I understand that this is a challenging time for both your daughter and your family. While Cerebral Palsy may have no known cure, treatment such as occupational therapy will give your daughter a good chance at participating in normal daily activities. Research family support groups in your community and connect with other parents. Do not hesitate to ask questions of your doctor or therapists. As long as you are there to help your daughter, you will be supporting her.

Sincerely, Wabi

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