By Elise Siebert
Jenks High School has a sibling duo that stands out from the rest. Throughout their lives, they have always spent time together reading and watching movies. Senior Bailie Sexton and Junior Elijah Sexton are not only siblings, but they are also best friends. Elijah has cerebral palsy which is a condition that affects balance, movement and muscle tone. Elijah also has a disability in his cognitive development, which makes it harder for him to learn.
“Elijah has Cerebral Palsy (CP) which is a permanent disorder that appears in early childhood and symptoms usually include poor coordination, stiff muscles, weak muscles, and tremors. There may also be other problems like speech,” said Dinah Robnett, the teacher of Elijah’s ‘Concept’ class, a class for students with multiple disabilities. “Because of this, Elijah is in a wheelchair most of the time, but he will be taken out at times to be in his stander, which helps to strengthen his legs.”
Despite his disabilities, he has an amazing personality that will always light up the room. Around school, Elijah is known by many. While going through the hallways, he always goes out of his way to say hi to people walking by.
“Every time Elijah is in the hallway there is usually someone that knows him and I have no idea who they are,” said Bailie. “At restaurants, he will always talk to our server and try to hit on them, and it’s so funny!”
Elijah adores Bailie. He always smiles so big when she walks into the room.
“She has come into my room the last two years to help out during her ‘Education Exceptional Child’ class. She is definitely one of a kind,” Robnett said, talking about Bailie. “She loves her brother more than I have ever seen a sibling love a brother who is disabled. She has taken him to different school functions and dances and even babysits him for long periods of time for her parents. In my class, she not only helps Elijah, but she also will tend to others who are disabled.”
Some of Elijah’s favorite things to do are to play basketball in the sensory room, read books, swim, listen to Justin Bieber, and of course, tease people and joke around with people. He has accomplished so much more than what was expected. He is sixteen years old, and he can understand others and communicate with them.
“I am so thankful. A lot of the doctors, when he was born, they told my parents that he wouldn’t make it to sixteen and that he would be able to have the social skills that he does have now and that he would be the way he is today and he was proved them wrong a lot of times,” said Bailie.
Throughout their lives, they have always been besties. Elijah will go with Bailie anywhere. They love to go to birthday parties together, go out to eat and to go shopping.
“We used to sleep together when we were little. I would get scared because I couldn’t sleep so I would sleep in his bed with him and I would fall asleep in his room,” Bailie said. ”Now he’s a very good shopping partner! He tells me what’s cute and what’s not and he will pick out outfits for me. He also hangs out with a lot of my friends. I have a lot of guy friends that will come over and hang out with him.”
The future is looking bright for Elijah and Bailie. After graduation, Bailie will be attending TCC for the next two years so she will be able to help out at home and take him to school.
“She has told me that whomever she marries will have to accept that she will want Elijah to live with them,” Robnett said, referring to Bailie. “So very amazing!”
Bailie and Elijah have a friendship that looks past the disability and has formed them into the people that they are today.