Being siblings of children with disabilities

Product: Book

Trim size in cm: 14x22

Pages: 110

ISBN: 978-88-590-0796-8

Publication date: 01/03/2015


The relationship between siblings is, among all human relations, one of the most intense; it is a mix of feelings of attachment, closeness and competition, protective instincts and conflict.
What happens though if one sibling is disabled? How does behaviour within and outside of the family context change? What implications does it entail and what resources does it activate?
The book attempts to answer these questions, giving voice to the siblings of children and youths with disabilities in their various stages of growing up. Their accounts reveal the complexity of a unique experience: the feeling of abandonment they reproach their parents with, the phases of denial and indifference, jealousy… but also the enthusiasm they bring to helping their brother or sister, the pride they feel in seeing them reach their goals and overcome difficulties, their success in identifying, after having worked through their experiences, the potential this «special brotherhood» offers.
Siblings, through the presentation of life stories, projects, research and a rich selection of reading recommendations, guides siblings and parents of people with disabilities on a journey of awareness, teaching them to get to know each other better, to deal with conflicts more effectively and build a happy and resilient family environment.

«I have fought. I have fought a lot with everyone: parents, relatives, school mates, some friends and even with him, with Marco, my brother. I really wanted a brother and when he was born I wasn’t disheartened. I admit there was a moment of confusion but the love I felt overcame that. But it was a battle… there was always something that stopped us from being brothers: health problems, my parents and I worrying, the way other people looked at us… until one day Marco stood up for me when I was arguing with my mother. I understood then; I had a brother, an accomplice who was a little difficult and a little strange, but he was there, right in front of me.
From that moment on my attitude towards him changed and I started to fight for our relationship as brothers: I no longer saved him from arguments and anger and I finally learnt to get to know him. All this had repercussions on my parents as well. I had the feeling that they felt relieved, because we were finally all together, out in the open, ready to face life day by day.»

Presentation (Federico Girelli)

First part - Building a sibling bond
Becoming siblings
The need for information
Sibling adaptation processes                                                                                                                                                   Sibling worries

Second part - Growing up together
The SIBLINGS project: support group for siblings in preadolescence
The homogeneous support group for adolescents
The American model of Sibshops

Third part - Adulthood
Unexpected opportunities
Sibling relationships in adulthood
Siblings as caregivers