CHICAGO (CBS) – Tyler C. loves his little sister and wants the world to know. In a video by Special Books By Special Kids (SBSK) that has been viewed on Facebook close to half a million times, Tyler talks about life with Emily, who is two years old and has Down syndrome.
“Why do you think your sister always likes to look at you?” Tyler is asked in the video. “Because she loves me,” Tyler responds.
Special Books by Special Kids, founded by Chris Ulmer, describes itself as an “organization that seeks to normalize the diversity of the human condition under the pillars of honesty, respect, mindfulness, positivity and collaboration.” SBSK’s Instagram account says it interviews “individuals with a diagnosis from across the world with hope of spreading empathy.”
“I was so excited not only for personal reasons for getting our story out there but was happy to get Chris the attention he deserves,” Tyler and Emily’s mother, Laurie, tells CBS 2. “He believes in these kids so much, that’s why he’s made it his life mission.”
Laurie believes Tyler and Emily embody the meaning of the hashtag #SiblingGoals. “He’s the most patient big brother in the world. He would not stop kissing her from Day One.” Whether it’s celebrating Emily signing a new word or standing on her own, Tyler is there with a smile and encouraging word.
Recently, Emily has returned the favor. Tyler played in his first soccer game earlier this month and Emily cheered him on. “I feel so honored to be the one to watch them grow,” Laurie says.
Laurie regularly shares stories about her family on her Facebook page, Emily’s Heart.
When Laurie received the Down syndrome diagnosis during her pregnancy, she said she was terrified. When women reach out to her now, two years later, she tells them, “the second you hold that baby in your arms, all the broken pieces of your heart will be put back together.”
Laurie says that she hopes the video will dispel any notions that her son is “burdened” by having a sister with Down syndrome. “You can still have a beautiful life,” she says. “A diagnosis can’t take anything away from you.”