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A Special Sister Deserves A Special Big Brother

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A Special Sister Deserves A Special Big Brother

A Special Sister Deserves A Special Big Brother

A Special Sister Deserves A Special Big Brother

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/121289913/121331096" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Debbie Watterson with her son, Mitchel, in Atascadero, Calif. i

Debbie Watterson with her son, Mitchel, in Atascadero, Calif. StoryCorps hide caption

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Debbie Watterson with her son, Mitchel, in Atascadero, Calif.

Debbie Watterson with her son, Mitchel, in Atascadero, Calif.

StoryCorps

Mitchel Watterson, 10, is a proud big brother to his sister, Bridget, who is deaf. Bridget is 8; her progressive hearing loss was identified by the time she was 1. Mitchel recently spoke to his mother, Debbie, about his relationship with his sister.

Asked how Bridget's deafness has affected him, Mitchel thought of a benefit: "On one hand, you get to meet so many other hearing-impaired people that you would have never known if your sister wasn't deaf.

"But people make fun of her in school, and she'll come home, and she's all upset about it."

In those times, Mitchel tries to help Bridget see her deafness — and learning American Sign Language — as something that's special and cool, something the other children can't do.

Debbie then reminded her son about one of the family's early visits to see Santa Claus.

Sitting in Santa's lap, the 4-year-old Mitchel said that what he really wanted for Christmas was for his sister to be able to hear.

And, he said, "I wanted to grow up to be an eye, ear and throat doctor, so I could find a way to make deaf people hear again."

Mitchel doesn't remember Santa's answer — but his mom does.

"He told your dad and I that we should get you anything and everything you wanted for Christmas," she said, "because it was the best request he had had all day."

Debbie told her son that he's a terrific big brother.

"Because you really watch out for Bridget, and you're very special in her life."

"Thank you," Mitchel said. "And I think you parent her really well. You don't treat her like she's not there because she's deaf — you listen to her, because she's your kid, still — no matter what."

Produced for Morning Edition by Vanara Taing. The senior producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo Recorded in partnership with San Luis Obispo SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area).

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