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Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability

Special Siblings: Growing Up with Someone with a Disability

by Mary McHugh, Stanley D. Klein (Foreword by)
Along with the insights from experts, Mary McHugh shares her personal experiences of growing up with a mentally disabled brother.


Along with the insights from experts, Mary McHugh shares her personal experiences of growing up with a mentally disabled brother.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Sue Krumbein
McHugh grew up with a brother who had cerebral palsy and mental retardation. In this book, she talks about her life, and she also relates the stories of others who grew up with siblings with a variety of physical and mental disabilities. The book is divided into three parts, covering childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. In each chapter, McHugh begins with her own experience and then goes on to a number of subtopics and the experiences of others she interviewed. She explores topics the reader would expect, such as the marriage of the parents, the feelings of various family members, and caring for the person who is disabled--but she also brings up topics that would be new to most readers. These include the problems fathers have, the difference the number of children in the family makes, and the normal sibling's ability to relate to other people after leaving home. At first glance, the book appears to be written either for people who have family members with handicaps, or for people with a special interest in disabilities. However, it includes a lot of information that would be of interest to anyone, and best of all, it is very readable. By incorporating the experiences of so many different individuals and by referring back to previously mentioned cases a number of times, McHugh acquaints the reader with several families and their situations. This book would be a useful source for reports on specific disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, and mental retardation, especially if the student wanted to cover the effects of the disability on family members. The case studies make it very clear what kinds of problems families have. Index. Biblio. Source Notes. VOYA Codes: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
YA-A look at what it is like to be a sibling of someone with a physical, mental, or emotional disability. McHugh's brother has both cerebral palsy and mental retardation, a fact that has shaped every aspect of her life. In the course of writing this book, she spoke to siblings ranging in age from 6 to 76 years of age who expressed feelings that ran the gamut from compassion to resentment. She writes with painful honesty and includes information about research studies, interviews with experts, and the experiences and stories of many siblings. The book covers important topics such as coping with anger, embarrassment with new friends, and dealing with the long-term care of the disabled sibling. McHugh concludes with a resource section that includes videotapes, newsletters, support groups, and organizations. This title could be of great interest, help, and comfort to readers who are looking for both information and encouragement from people who understand how they might be feeling.-Peggy Bercher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
For siblings of those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, here is helpful advice, comfort, and the company of others who've been there. McHugh (formerly an editor at Woman's World and Cosmopolitan, and a frequent New York Times contributor) grew up with a mentally disabled brother for whom she became responsible as an adult after their mother died. McHugh doesn't shrink from the tough issues, even when looking at her own actions. Mostly, she reports, she blocked her brother and his problems out of her life as much as possible. So on one level, this is about McHugh's own journey-one viewed wrenchingly from another angle when one of her own children becomes blind and has a leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes. But moving on from her own experience, McHugh offers information, understanding, and resources for others, on a wide range of issues: from childhood fears about the parents' marriage, to troubles in one's own marriage caused by caring for a disabled sibling, to the urge to somehow make it all better ("For a sibling, there is nothing more painful than watching your mother's heart break because one of her children is wounded"). McHugh considers needs and problems for each age and developmental group, from childhood on. Real help, real comfort for those personally affected. .

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.00(d)

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