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What the other children are thinking: Brothers and sisters of persons with Down syndrome

Authors

  • Brian G. Skotko,

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    • 1284 Beacon St., Suite 609, Brookline, MA 02446.
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    • Brian G. Skotko, M.D., M.P.P., is a physician at Children's Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress and has co-facilitated brothers-and-sisters workshops at conferences for the National Down Syndrome Congress and National Down Syndrome Society. He has a sister with Down syndrome.

  • Susan P. Levine

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    • Levine has a master's degree in child development and family relations from the University of Connecticut. She is a social worker with Family Resource Associates, Inc., in Shrewsbury, NJ, where she runs monthly support groups for brothers and sisters of children with disabilities. She frequently speaks for parent groups and has co-facilitated brothers-and-sisters workshops at conferences for the National Down Syndrome Society.


  • How to cite this article: Skotko BG, Levine SP. 2006. What the other children are thinking: Brothers and sisters of persons with Down syndrome. Am J Med Genet Part C Semin Med Genet 142C:180–186.

Abstract

Brothers and sisters are obligatorily welcomed to the disability community when a person with Down syndrome (DS) is part of the family unit. How they react to such an invitation is the focus of this investigation. Here, we review the most current research on brothers and sisters of persons with DS, and comment on our own experience in facilitating sibling workshops at the local, state, and national levels. The evidence, to date, seems clear: brothers and sisters experience a wide range of emotions, but typically the positive feelings outweigh the negative ones. Further, siblings find rich value in having a family member with DS, and most will assume positions of advocacy at some level in their lives. Recommendations for physicians on how parents can nurture healthy relationships among their children are offered. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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