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Down Syndrome NSW
Level 6/410 Church St, North Parramatta
9am-5pm Monday - Thursday
T: 9841 444

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Library Thursdays: Fasten Your Seatbelt

Fasten Your Seatbelt: a crash course on Down syndrome for brothers and sisters by Brian G. Skotko and Susan P. Levine, a new book in our library, is written for teenagers who have a sibling with Down syndrome. It is a wide ranging book that tells exactly what Down syndrome is and answers questions asked at numerous workshops conducted by the authors. The questions range from what to do about people who stare at their siblings, how to manage embarrassing behaviour, how to understand feelings about their siblings with Down syndrome, how to talk to their parents about their siblings as well as what can be expected for the future.
The book can be used to answer specific questions or read cover to cover (190 pages). Some is very basic information that many siblings may already know, but it is laid out in a clear way and many siblings may find it easier to read this than ask parents or seek out the information elsewhere.
In the behaviour section as in other sections, it seemed that Skotko and Levine were sometimes giving a course in child management that may expect too much of siblings. But, perhaps siblings of people with Down syndrome do learn these things early on to their benefit. The authors do repeatedly advise the readers to talk to their parents about many of these issues and later discuss who to talk to if they feel too burdened with responsibility.
I think the book will be very useful for older siblings (in some instances, the book would be fine for children as young as 10--especially if used in small excerpts). I most liked the chapters on behaviours, uncomfortable situations and feelings. Hopefully siblings that aren't big readers will go straight to these sections. I would have liked more resources in the resource sections and even some references to the research mentioned in the early chapters. Some of the information (mainly in the education section) is US oriented but the majority of the book would be very relevant to Australian siblings of people with Down syndrome. It is nice to have a comprehensive book for siblings that is specific to Down syndrome.
I highly recommend the book to siblings who want their questions answered and to parents and others who want a description of Down syndrome and how it affects family life.
Email us if you'd like to borrow a copy.
Related Links:
Siblings booklets online from Down's Syndrome Scotland:
And for parents: Siblings are special too
Other books on siblings of people with special needs available in the library:
Oh, Brother: Growing up with a special needs sibling by Natalie Hale
Views from our Shoes: Growing up with a brother or sister with special needs, edited by Donald Meyer
Who Asked Me: a journal of discovery and sharing by and for siblings of people with developmental disabilities, edited by Adele L. Bergstrom in cooperation with Fraser
Siblings: Brothers and sisters of children with special needs by Kate Strohm

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