Siblings of disabled face challenges

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Siblings, Health & Safety: Babies

Interesting piece in the New York Times about siblings of disabled children and the unique challenges they face.

The siblings of the disabled, are often embarrassed by their disabled sibling and then ashamed of those feelings. They may feel their parents have enough on their hands, so they try to be 'easy' children so as not to add extra burden to their parent's lives. Some children say they feel jealous of the attention their disabled sibling gets and so wish they were the disabled ones.

The article points out these complex emotions about disabilities are difficult even for adults to process, it's much more difficult for a child to do so. Also most support organizations deal directly with the disabled child and his/her parents, with siblings being lost in the shuffle.

The Arc's sibling support program, run by director Don Meyer, looks to open up honest discussion for these children. He's also published a book, The Sibling Slam Book: What It's Really Like To Have A Brother Or Sister With Special Needs, with candid remarks from 80 children.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.