Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A new book for the brothers and sisters of people with Down syndrome

“What causes Down syndrome?”
“Why do people stare at my sister in public?”
“How do you deal with people who use the word ‘retard’?”
“Where will my brother live when he gets older?”

A new book, Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters (Woodbine House, February 2009), answers these questions and more. Aaccessible to kids as young as 11, the questions in the book are based on brother-and-sister workshops led by its co-authors Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, a physician at Children’s Hospital Boston whose sister has Down syndrome, and Susan Levine, a social worker with Family Resource Associates, Inc. (Shrewsbury, NJ).

The book tries to fill in a long-standing gap: Resources and support services are geared toward parents, not siblings, say Skotko and Levine.“Oftentimes, siblings exist in emotional isolation – they have so many questions about Down syndrome and the feelings they are experiencing toward their brother or sister. They frequently wonder whether it’s okay to feel not only love and joy toward their sibling but also frustration and embarrassment, at times.”

Check it out.

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