Families

2nd December 2005 at 00:00
SPECIAL BROTHERS AND SISTERS. Edited by Annette Hames and Monica McCaffrey. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. pound;10.99.

An edited collection of children's thoughts about living with siblings who have an impairment or health difficulty draws on children aged three to 18 and focuses on a wide range of labels and conditions. It identifies a central issue within each child's description and uses this as the basis for activities (for example, bullying, jealousy, or feeling sad) and for identifying possible support services.

There is more emphasis on the problems that come from these sibling relationships rather than the rewards. This probably reflects the intentions of the editors as much as the world-view of the children, since they wish to help children realise that they "are not alone", and to provide them with support.

The brevity of the entries and simple style tend to make the book of greater interest to younger siblings, but individual descriptions would be useful to teachers as a starting point for exploring notions of difference with their pupils.

Jonathan Rix

Lecturer in inclusive education, the Open University

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