It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

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

My Special Brother

Perry Dubinsky

The titles are endless: mental retardation, autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy. People. Sheltered from our world, they are shunned by society, all but forgotten by our communities. The world they know is theirs, and theirs alone. As people not afflicted with any mental or physical disability, we may push them aside, unwilling to accept them, yet willing to avoid the burden they present to us. Because they are harder to deal with, because they do strange things, things that are not "normal," we are unwilling to accept them as part of our society. Dealing with special children is difficult and, so, many people don't. If any one of those people that ignore the situation would gather the courage to spend even a short amount of time with a retarded child, they would immediately sense the many needs of the child.

As the sibling of a mentally retarded child, I felt cheated because my brother was not the same as other kids. I was waiting for the day he would wake up and be like me, a day that will never come. So many times he pleaded for the affection he desperately needed and so many times I turned my back and ignored his appeal. I did not understand.

Finally, I came to accept his condition, and from there I was able to help him. Acceptance leads to understanding, which in turn leads to helping, assisting.

Like all special children, my brother's love for everyone and everything around him is wholly genuine. He has no ulterior motives attached to his

-107-

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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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