It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

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

Reflections of a College Freshman: Away from Home for the First Time

Michael Levitt

Returning home from college thrills me because I am privileged to be greeted by my sister, Stacy. "Michael home, Michael home," she cries as I walk in the door.

"Brother Mike here, play piano," she continues as I take off my coat.

"Fix record player, pleeease," she exhorts as I sit down for a luscious meatballs and spaghetti dinner prepared by our next-door neighbor.

Greetings like these make me realize just what Stacy has meant to me.

My sister Stacy is mentally and physically disabled as a result of cerebral palsy. She cannot walk very much, nor talk very much, but she has more intelligence than many "normal" people and is so easy to love that people who meet her once can hardly forget her warmth. Stacy can brighten up a room with a single smile and cheer up a friend by raising her eyebrows and giving a hug. I wish that I was as super a person as she is.

"Swallow," I tell Stacy to remind her to refrain from drooling. Stacy and I understand that "swallow" is more a term of mutual love than one of reprimand. So is "dry girl," my reminder to Stacy not to wet her bed. Whenever I utter either of these phrases to Stacy she usually obeys them, gives me a kiss, and then grabs my arm and pulls me to the piano where I play her favorite song, "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Somewhere Stacy picked up the femme fatale trick of exchanging kisses for favors. I told you she was intelligent.

-109-

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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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