It Isn't Fair! Siblings of Children with Disabilities

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

When I Grow Up, I'm Never Coming Back!

Maxwell J. Schleifer

"My husband and I have been involved in battles with our fifteen-year-old daughter, Pamela, since she started high school last fall," Peg Lebo, a short, dark-haired woman in her mid-forties spoke quickly. "The battles are about many things. But last week things erupted when she was asked to stay home to 'baby-sit' our eight-year-old son, Eliot, who has Down syndrome.

"Pam began to scream that she has been sacrificed to care for Eliot. She claims our seventeen-year-old son, George, and her eleven-year-old brother, Michael, were never asked to spend as much time with Eliot, nor were they asked to do as many things as she does. She stormed out and said, 'When I grow up and am living on my own, I'm never coming back here again.' She said she never wanted to have anything to do with Eliot for the rest of her life.

"I know that sometimes kids feel this way when they are young. They say things to their parents, like never wanting to see them again--but they really don't mean it. I can remember saying something like that to my mother. Just the same, my husband, John, and I were both very upset by this outburst. For the first time, we began a lengthy discussion about the things that have been going on for the last eight years--since Eliot was born. We have tried to do this many times, but after ten or fifteen minutes we would stop talking. Each time we tried to reassure each other that everything was O.K. and that things would work out. This time we both were determined to see it through to the end.

-133-

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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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