It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

Synopsis

This book presents a wide range of perspectives on the relationship of siblings to children with disabilities. These perspectives are written in the first person by parents, young adult siblings, younger siblings, and professionals. A series of chapters illustrates changing views about children with disabilities and their families. There is a unique collection of chapters by parents and siblings, including moving, firsthand accounts. The authors show the importance of parents as teachers of their children and illustrate the growing awareness of, and concerns about, the family when one child is disabled. Information in families must be shared, the book asserts, and the issues of fairness, expectations, rewards, punishments, caretaking responsibilities, and negative feelings are all thoroughly discussed.

Excerpt

In 1972 Exceptional Parent magazine first published an interview with four college students, each of whom had a sibling with a disability. Families raising a child with a disability at home at that time did so in the context of very limited educational or therapeutic services for the child and little or no community support. Accordingly, each college student had grown up in a family setting where parents and other family members provided most of the care needed by the child. They did so in communities that were years away from being sensitized to current concepts of inclusion and community participation of children and adults with disabilities.

In those days, when a child with a noticeable disability was born, parents were often advised to institutionalize the baby. Professionals believed the parents would be assuming a terrible burden by taking the child home and that the rest of the family, and especially the other children, would suffer. Even though the professional literature was beginning to discuss positive as well as negative outcomes for family members when a child with a disability was raised at home, many professionals continued to believe it would be harmful to the family. Describing those times in Forgotten Children, Meyer Schreiber writes: "The simple fact is that our concept of the family does not include a place for the family with a child with a disability. . . . Only now is the disabled child coming to be perceived as a human being with the same basic needs for love, acceptance and belonging as other children. . . ."

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