A sibling's perspective

Rekha's story about growing up and caring for her brother with severe learning disabilities.

My brother

My brother Deepak is 28, the youngest of five siblings. Deepak has a wonderful presence and the best smile and we are very close.

Growing up with a brother with severe learning disabilities and who is non–verbal has been challenging and demanding – made harder by the fact that language was a barrier. My mum does not speak English (her first language is Gujarati) and my father’s health was not good.

Caring for Deepak

I have always been heavily involved in caring for Deepak and supporting my parents by attending meetings, filling in forms, translating letters and interpreting what the professionals say.

Without the support I have given my parents they would have found it very difficult to cope. They would have been left in a position where professionals could have made all the decisions about Deepak’s life and they would have had to either go along with it or keep Deepak at home and struggle without support, relevant information or access to services.

Caring for my mother and Deepak

I now care for my mother (our father passed away some years ago) and even though Deepak does not live at home, much of my time is still taken up sorting things out for him – my role as a carer doesn’t stop just because he doesn’t live at home.

My own health has suffered and it can be very stressful at times, worrying about how my brother is being cared for. It continues to be a struggle but I wouldn’t have it any other way. All Deepak has to do is flash his gorgeous smile to remind me why I do it.

Rekha, sister to Deepak.

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