South Bay teenage author offers life lessons on siblings with disabilities
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) - He's only 19-years-old, but Michael Deauville of San Jose has faced many challenges that he says gives him a unique perspective on how to help others in a similar situation— living with loved ones with physical disabilities.
Deauville is a college student who grew up in West San Jose with two siblings, both with disabilities. Now, he's written a book to share his story with the world.
Michael is living a life of adjustments and accommodations. He's the youngest of three siblings. His brother Robert was born with a birth defect, which caused developmental delays.
For as long as Michael can remember, he's taken on the role of protector.
"The first thing you want to be is a warrior. You want to safeguard them from the negativity in the world,” he says.
Robert is older than Michael by 11 years, but he says his younger brother takes care of him.
Robert says Michael is like an older brother, "because he drives."
Michael has spent more than one birthday in the hospital because of his sister Katie's medical problems.
She suffers from a genetic degenerative disease that affects the nerves and muscle control.
"When you're a young child, it's hard for you to understand why this is happening," says Michael.
He says growing up, he experienced conflicting feelings.
Michael says he was often forgotten because the attention was focused on his siblings. “You're jealous of the extra attention they get."
But from the challenges, he's learned resiliency from Katie and to never give up hope. From Robert, who's an avid sports fan, he's learned that's it's important to have passion.
Michael has put his lessons into words. He's written a book "A Brother's Love: Finding His Footprints”.
He says it was three years ago, when he was 16, that he was ready to talk about his experience and life lessons and hopes to help other families with disabled loved ones.
"That journey's been hard for me to get there. But within the last couple of years, wherever I've been in life and the love I felt and the peace of mind being in my situation. I'm ready to share it with everyone that's been my driving force," said Michael.
His mother Mary says from an early age, Michael was mature, self-sufficient and great with his siblings
She says his book was a revelation.
"It was very eye-opening. I wish as a parent that we had some of these discussions beforehand so we could have identified those feelings," said Mary Deauville.
Michael says he's grateful for the life that has chosen him; that it has made him the person he is today. He says facing challenges is part of life.
"No matter how hard it may be, if you think you're the only one in your shoes, you're not: To share your life with others and be positive. See what is going to happen with it. You take your situation and you run with it and you go and try to make the best of it and you go and help others," said Michael.
His book will be available in October.
He starts his sophomore year Monday at the University of Mississippi.
For more information, www.michaeljohndeauville.org