Siblings: Brothers and sisters of children with disability
by Kate Strohm (Wakefield, $27.50)
Reviewed by Nikki Slade Robinson
It’s not unusual for the subject of disability to appear in the media, or to be a topic for discussion. Generally the focus is on issues directly impacting disabled people themselves or, less often, the family member (especially parents) in the primary caregiving role. However there is another side to disability that isn’t often covered: siblings of disabled people – or ‘sibs’ as they are referred to in this book.
Australian Kate Strohm’s book ‘Siblings’ opens the door to the ‘sib’ world. Strohm is an experienced health professional, journalist – and sib. She speaks from personal experience: her older sister had cerebral palsy. ‘[As a child] I was incapable of understanding, let alone expressing, the effect of growing up with my sister.’ She goes on to say ‘I had made a decision not to ‘make waves’… I needed to be perfect but on another level I felt guilty about all the things I could do … but my sister couldn’t.’ Out of her journey to come to terms with being a sib, came the establishment of the organisation ‘Siblings Australia’, and of course, this book.