Book Review – Special Brothers and Sisters

Edited by Annette Hames and Monica McCaffrey
Published by Jessica Kingsley
£10.99; ISBN: 1-84310-383-4


How do the siblings of disabled children really feel?  We are never really sure, but this easy-to-read book aimed at the families of “special” children gives us an honest insight into the personal experiences of 40 three-to 18-year-olds who have a sibling with a disability or life-threatening illness, writes Joanne Silk

Each individual story tells of the child’s hopes and fears for their sibling and how it affects their own life. The way the book is put together is useful as it is easy to access an area of particular interest by either the child’s age or a specific disability and it also has simple explanations of complex medical conditions.

After each shared experience, there is a section of useful things to think about and practical suggestions of how to deal with certain situations.

There is also a section giving details of organisations that can be contacted for help, although perhaps these are a little limited.

The stories from the young people are quite touching and I’m sure many siblings reading it will identify with lots of the issues raised. 

I think the book will enable parents to understand their children’s feelings and, in turn, the child will realise that they are not alone in their unique situation even though they may sometimes think they are.  I certainly think it is a good publication which will encourage a platform for open discussion within the family.   

Joanne Silk, mother of four children, one of whom has epilepsy and global developmental delays

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