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Brothers and Sisters of Disabled Children

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Examining the overlooked subject of non-disabled siblings in families where there is a disabled child, Brothers and Sisters of Disabled Children details the experiences of these children and explores what it means to them to have a disabled brother or sister. Through family interviews and one-to-one meetings, Peter Burke records siblings' views on issues ranging from the everyday social restrictions on their lives, the discrimination they face at school, through to their concerns about the future. He also considers the difficulties for siblings of finding their own identity in `disabled' families, competition for parental attention and the phenomenon of `disability by association' - the tendency for siblings to emulate a disabled brother's or sister's behaviour in an attempt to gain recognition for themselves at home, school and socially.

Putting this within the context of the existing framework of professional practice for sibling and family support services, the author stresses the importance and proven success of sibling support groups as models of empowerment and inclusion, and makes clear recommendations for future practice.
  • Published: Jul 15 2003
  • Pages: 160
  • 233 x 158mm
  • ISBN: 9781843100430
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Press Reviews

  • The Canadian Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

    Peter Burke is a senior lecturer in social work at the University of Hull, England. He has written extensively on the siblings and families of disabled children, mostly from the vantage point of recognising their rights and providing them with the necessary social and government support. Peter Burke spoke also from personal experience as his own son is confined to a wheelchair.
  • Children Now

    Brothers and Sisters of Disabled Children is a well though out, well presented study of the effects that having a disabled child in the family has on younger and older siblings…By providing a detailed description of the theory and practice, and effectively summing up his research, Burke makes you feel as if you have been there throughout the book's development. With a list of references, Brothers and Sisters of Disabled Children makes the reader want to follow up on the evidence provided, which lends credibility to the recommendations made by the author.
  • British Journal of Special Education

    Reading this book as a parent of three young adults, one of whom is disabled, was thought-provoking and certainly initiated discussion both within our family and with other families with similar experiences... The book clearly emphasises that all family members should have the opportunity to contribute to family discussions to express their feelings and needs, which individual family care plans and service development should reflect. It also emphasises the continued need to work towards changing attitudes within society towards disabled people.
  • Care and Health Magazine

    The publication is based on the author's study of the needs and experiences of non-disabled siblings of disabled children, through family interviews and one-to-one meetings. The results are presented within a richly textured framework of theory and practice, which should be of use to students, staff and policymakers... This authoritative publication should provoke not only thought but also practical action.