It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

By Stanley D. Klein; Maxwell J. Schleifer | Go to book overview

Brothers With a Difference

Renee Seidenberg

My son Mark's disability has been called by many names: Infantile Autism in its residual state, Child Development Disorder or Atypical Pervasive Development Disorder (according to the official psychiatric classification), and E.D. or emotionally disturbed (according to the classification with the Committee for the Handicapped and the school system).

Parenting a child with a disability is a lonely business. Sharing the depth of despair would be admitting defeat, so you press it down.

I often get angry at my husband because he only wants to look at, or talk about, the positive sides of Mark. He continually sees progress. His optimism keeps me up, even though I often know that he is far from being realistic.


SHATTERED DREAMS

I will never forget the sound of my dreams shattering when a professional told me that Mark would never be able to go to regular schools. He was only thirty months old at the time. Until then, I had vivid daydreams of my two boys, less than two years apart, walking together to school. They are beautiful, loving, and loved; they are both wanted, enjoyed, nurtured, and spoiled.

When Erik, who is younger, was born, my husband bought me a statue of two young boys hand-in-hand. I still choke up when I look at it and think

-61-

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It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • PART I Siblings Begin to Talk Together 1
  • Brother to Sister, Sister to Brother 3
  • Forgotten Children 33
  • PART II Parents and Professionals 41
  • For the Love of Wess 45
  • A Sibling Born Without Disabilities: A Special Kind of Challenge 51
  • When the Youngest Becomes the Oldest 55
  • Brothers With a Difference 61
  • Darwin and Caleb 65
  • Christina Loves Katherine 71
  • Is That Your Brother? Our Family's Response 75
  • The Sibling Situation 79
  • But Not Enough to Tell the Truth: Developmental Needs of Siblings 83
  • PART III Siblings 87
  • The Other Children 91
  • Life With My Sister: Guilty No More 97
  • My Brother Warren 103
  • My Special Brother 107
  • Reflections of a College Freshman: Away from Home for the First Time 109
  • Courage in Adversity: My Brother Dick 111
  • Dear Mom 115
  • PART IV Case Studies 121
  • When I Grow Up, I'm Never Coming Back! 133
  • Jerry Got Lost in the Shuffle 139
  • We Go Our Separate Way, Together but Alone 147
  • I'm Not Going to Be John's Baby Sitter Forever 155
  • PART V Young Siblings 163
  • Conclusion 171
  • Resources 173
  • Index 175
  • About the Editors 177
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