Working with the extract

24th September 2004 at 01:00
This engaging piece of autobiographical writing was one of last year's primary-age competition winners. The writer has chosen to write about her brother, a fact that she acknowledges may seem strange since brothers are supposed to be a pain! Her choice is even more extraordinary when she reveals that he is autistic. Her account of life with her brother is honest, funny in places and lacks sentimentality. From her writing we learn about the writer and her family and the difficulties and rewards of having a handicapped brother. What shines through this piece is the love and care of the writer and her family for her brother.

Reading and talking about this piece may require tact and sensitivity. Make sure that the children have some understanding of autism. Talk about the problems that the writer and her family encounter. How do they cope with these problems?

Broaden the discussion out to living with younger siblings and the problems and rewards that this brings.

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