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Siblings of Children with Special Needs

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Featured Books


Autism in My Family: a Journal for Siblings of Children with ASD. Sandra Tucker, $25.95

An interactive workbook full of dynamic activities for children with siblings on the autism spectrum. Through individualized exercises in understanding and empathy, this book will serve to empower the child and strengthen their sibling relationship.


Autism, the Invisible Cord: a Sibling's Diary. Barbara Cain, $13.50 (novel, ages 12-18)

Meet Jenny — a teen who confides in her diary about what it is like to live with Ezra, her younger brother with autism, and her life with the most "wacky, exasperating, infuriating, amazing younger brother!"

If living with Ezra weren't hard enough, Jenny must deal with school bullies, rude classmates, and fragile friendships. But with the promise of a summer writing program and an Ezra-inspired project, Jenny finds the courage to be more than just "Ezra's sister, protector, defender, and his best and only friend," and loosens the invisible cord just enough to follow her own dreams.


Autism through a Sisterís Eyes: a Young Girlís View of Her Brotherís Autism. E. Band & E. Hecht, $16.95 (ages 10-12)

When young people have questions about a brother or sister with autism or Aspergerís Syndrome, clear answers can be hard to find. Written by Eve Band, PhD, a clinical psychologist, this book gives voice to ten-year-old Emilyís story: her questions about her brother, her search for answers about autism, and her exploration of her feelings as a sibling of a young man with autism. Told in her voice, Emilyís story is as uplifting as it is filled with valuable information for parents and siblings, or any individual whose life is touched by a person with high-functioning autism or Aspergerís Syndrome.

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Because Ö Someone I Love Has Cancer: a Kidsí Activity Book. American Cancer Society, $13.95 (ages 6-12)

This activity book is designed to help kids create and find bright moments in the midst of tough circumstances.


The Boy Who Said Nonsense. Felizia Sanzari Chernesky, $22.99

Tate is different, and not just because he came from a pumpkin patch. He loves numbers, especially the number eleven, and he can count lots of things just by looking at them! But all this counting makes most people think Tate talks nonsense. Tate never seems to mind, but his brother does. No one seems to understand the way his mind works — until his older brother makes a connection and helps the whole family see things from Tate’s perspective.


Brotherly Feelings: Me, My Emotions, and My Brother with Asperger’s Syndrome. Sam Frender & Dennis Dittrich, $19.95

Sam knows that his brother Eric is different from him because his brain works differently. So, when the other children bully Eric, it makes Sam feel protective of him. But sometimes, when Eric behaves oddly, Sam feels embarrassed too. Sometimes, when Eric gets lots of attention, it makes Sam feel resentful — then, when he considers that Eric needs a lot of help and attention, it makes Sam feel guilty for feeling resentful. There are so many different feelings Sam experiences!

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Brothers and Sisters. Laura Dwight, $11.95

Come and meet Zaire and Eubie, James and Chloe, and other sets of siblings, and see all the things the do together!


Camp Outlook. Brenda Baker, $11.95 (novel, ages 11-15)

Shannon is thrilled when her mom becomes pregnant. After years of hoping and waiting, finally she will have a little brother or sister to play with. But when her brother is born, things don't go according to plan, and Shannon has to reconsider what 'normal' really is.


David's World: a Picture Book about Living with Autism. Dagmar Mueller & Verena Ballhaus, $25.95

David does not like when people are noisy; he does not like being hugged — not even by his own brother. David does not laugh when happy or cry when sad. He speaks his own language, which is difficult to understand at times. And he eats the same foods almost every day. However, David is a brilliant pianist and seems to have an amazing ability to communicate with the family dog. And even though he is not like most children, through the eyes of his brother we are able to see how he makes progress toward understanding his world.

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Everybody is Different: a Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters with Autism. Fiona Bleach, $14.95

Many young people have a hard time understanding the complexities of what autism Is and why people with autism engage in the behaviors that they do. This book gives answers to the many questions brothers and sisters of young people on the autism spectrum have about their siblings. In addition to explaining in basic terms the characteristics of autism, this little book is full of helpful suggestions for making family life more comfortable for everyone. The many illustrations make this a warm and accessible book for young people.


Fasten Your Seatbelt: a Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters. Brian Skotko & Susan Levine, $24.50 (ages 12 and up)

With nearly 100 questions and answers on a broad range of issues, Fasten Your Seatbelt is a complete guide to the joys and challenges of growing up with a brother or sister who has Down syndrome.


I Have a Sister, My Sister Is Deaf. Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, $8.50 (ages 4-8)

For children ages 4-8, this lovely picture book tells the story of a very special sister who can say more with her eyes, and body language than most people can with words. A great book for explaining deafness to young children.

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Ian’s Walk: a Story about Autism. Laurie Lears & Karen Ritz, $9.99 (ages 5-8)

Julie can't wait to go to the park and feed the ducks with her big sister, Tara. There's only one problem. Her little brother, Ian, who has autism, wants to go, too. Ian doesn't have the same reactions to all the sights and sounds that his sisters have, and Julie thinks he looks silly. But when he wanders off on his own, she must try to see the world through his eyes in order to find him.


Iím Not Her. Janet Gurder, $11.99 (novel, 14 +)

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one and thatís okay ó they each have their own place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer ó and her picture-perfect family starts cracking. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesnít hold it together, who will?


Just Because! Rebecca Elliott, $9.99

Just Because tells of a brother's love for his sister. He is so enthusiastic about just how loving and special she is, and delights in telling us about all the fun things they do together. Only as his tale unfolds does the reader begin to realise that his sister has special needs... and by then we just accept as he does all the wonderful things about her.

Rebecca Elliott's heart-warming picture book is much celebrated for its touching and sensitive approach to introducing the issue of disability to young children through a charming celebration of sibling friendship.

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Leah's Voice. Lori DeMonia, illustrated by Monique Turchan, $18.95

Leah's Voice is a story that touches on the difficulties children encounter when they meet a child with special needs such as autism. Children who have a brother or sister with special needs may find it difficult to explain to their friends, or feel disappointed when their friends aren't more understanding. Leah's Voice tells the story of two sisters facing these challenges. Through her kindness and devotion, one sister teaches by example the importance of including everyone and showing acceptance


My Brother Is Autistic. Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, illustrations by Marta Fàbrega, $8.99

Having a sibling with autism can be hard, especially at school. Maybe if the other kids knew more about autism they’d stop teasing Billy and just be nice!


My Brother Charlie. Holly Robinson Peete & Ryan Elizabeth Peete, $21.99 (ages 10-14)

Callie is very proud of her twin brother Charlie. He’s so good at so many things — swimming, playing the piano, running fast. And Charlie has a special way with animals, especially their dog Harriet. Charlie is in many ways just like any other boy — and he has autism.

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My Holly: a Story of a Brotherís Understanding and Acceptance. Julie Leavitt Wolfe, $22.95

This is a story about a young boy named Jack, and the feelings heís had about his little sister who has special needs. Jack sometimes feels sad because he wants his mom and dad to play with him, but they are busy taking Holly to therapy or doctorís appointments. Jack begins to understand that his parents also try to make sure he knows heís important and loved, and begins to believe, just like his mom, that one day Holly will be able to do anything she wants!


Nobodyís Perfect. Marlee Matlin & Doug Cooney, $6.99 (novel, for ages 9 Ė 12)

Megan and her school friends have been making big plans for her birthday party. Then a new girl, Alexis, joins their class. Alexis is smart, pretty, and rules the soccer games on the playground, but she resists making new friends and refuses to come to Meganís party. While the others think the new girl may just be shy, Megan fears that Alexis doesnít like her because she is deaf ó because sheís not perfect. When Megan discovers that Alexisí little brother Justin has autism, she realizes that Alexis is embarrassed by him and afraid of what others will think.


The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling. Jeanne Safer, $15.50

Psychologist Jeanne Safer, herself the sibling of a special needs brother, examines the challenges and far-reaching effects on the lives of children who grow up with difficult or damaged siblings. A sensitive, personal and compassionate look at the challenges and complex lifelong issues they face.

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Rules. Cynthia Lord, $7.99 (ages 10 to 14)

Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She's spent years trying to teach David the rules-from "a peach is not a funny-looking apple" to "keep your pants on in public" in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she's always wished for, it's her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?


Russell’s World: a Story for Kids about Autism. Charles Amenta, $13.50

Russell is a boy with autism, a great big smile and family who loves him. Step into Russell’s World with photos and stories, and see what Russell and his family do every day.


The Sandwich Kid: a Film about Siblings & Disabilities. Created by Keri Bowers, Featuring Jace King, $36.95 DVD format

The Sandwich Kid gives voice to siblings of people with disabilities ó those who are impacted by daily living with a brother or sister having a developmental or other disability. The film is narrated by 12 year old Jace King who we first met in big brother Taylor Crossí film, Normal People Scare Me. Jace uses wit, charm and keen insights in the interviews he conducts with dozens of ďsibsĒ, ranging in age from 6 to 59. Along the way, he shares his own struggles and challenges to building a relationship after years of estrangement with his quirky brother.

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Sibling Stories: Reflections on Life with a Brother or Sister on the Autism Spectrum. Lynne Stern Feiges & Mary Jane Weiss, $29.50

A valuable new resource, not only for siblings, but for parents, professionals and anyone whose life is touched by autism.


The Sibling Survival Guide: Indispensable Information for Brothers and Sisters of Adults with Disabilities. Edited by Don Meyer & Emily Holl, $28.50

If you're a teenaged or adult brother or sister of someone with a disability, then this book is expressly for you. It offers a sense that you're not alone, tips on how to talk to your parents about plans for your sibling, and a crash course in guardianship, medical & legal issues, and government benefits if you're already caring for your sib. Edited by experts in the field of disabilities and sibling relationships, The Sibling Survival Guide focuses on the topmost concerns identified in a survey of hundreds of siblings. The chapter authors — experienced siblings and service providers — offer practical information and anecdotes about:

  • statistics & research about siblings
  • younger siblings' feelings
  • impact on your life decisions
  • caring for multiple generations
  • aging and disability
  • taking care of yourself
  • getting services & advocacy
  • future planning

Siblings: the Autism Spectrum through Our Eyes. Jane Johnson & Anne van Rensselaer, Editors, $15.95

Growing up with a sibling on the autistic spectrum can be difficult, and the needs of a child with autism often overwhelm a family, leaving neuro-typical children feeling overshadowed. In this book, the 'neuro-typical' siblings get to have their say. They recount the good, the bad, and the downright annoying in a way that all young people in a similar situation will immediately recognise. Young siblings of all ages candidly recount how being 'the neuro-typical one' can be tiring, frustrating, and lonely, but equally rewarding, and every story is injected with wisdom gained by young people who often have to grow up a lot more quickly than their peers. 

This book is essential reading for children and teenagers with a sibling on the autistic spectrum, and for parents wishing to understand how autism in the family will affect their neuro-typical child.

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Sibshops: Workshops for Siblings of Children with Special Needs, Revised Edition. Don Meyer & Patricia Vadasy, $48.95

When it comes to organizing workshops for siblings of children with special health and developmental needs, the enormously popular Sibshop model has been used in more than 200 communities in eight countries, and the long-awaited revision of this exemplary guide makes it easier than ever to create and run successful, cost-effective sibling support group programs.

Sibshop programs provide opportunities for brothers and sisters of children with special needs to obtain peer support and education within a highly recreational context. Organizers and families appreciate that the workshops take a wellness approach, and the siblings who attend the workshops appreciate that they're fun and engaging. Highly practical and user-friendly, Sibshops is filled with straightforward instructions, photocopiable forms, more than 100 fun games and activities, and sage guidance on how to start, fund, and run a Sibshop.

Essential for agencies that serve families of children with disabilities, social workers, parent-to-parent programs, early intervention programs, developmental disability councils, child life specialists, and parents, this guidebook offers an inexpensive and easy-to-implement solution to addressing siblings' needs in a way everyone can enjoy.


Sometimes My Brother: Helping Kids Understand Autism Through a Siblingís Eyes. Angie Healy, $21.50

Three-year-old Foster talks about his older brother, Gavin, who has autism. Sometimes My Brother shows readers the challenges the boys face and the obstacles they overcome. Vibrant photographs bring the reader right into their living room, school and playground. Foster's innocent approach is perfect for teaching others what autism is all about, and for letting other siblings of children with autism know that they are not alone. There is a how-to section at the end so families can create their own personalized books for sharing their story with others.


Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Syndrome. Coulter Video Productions, $21.95 DVD format

Understanding Brothers and Sisters on the Autism Spectrum. Coulter Video Productions, $21.95 DVD format

These DVDs are designed to help children of different ages understand and support their siblings on the autism spectrum. One DVD applies to siblings diagnosed with autism, and the other applies to siblings diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Each DVD contains four programs; three for siblings of different ages and developmental levels, and one for their parents. The sibling programs are for children ages 4 to 7; ages 7 to 12 and ages 12 to adult. They explore a range of ways the kids interviewed have learned to get along with and enjoy their brothers and sisters. The DVDs also help parents understand the special needs of their neurotypical children. Overall, the members of 24 families were interviewed to create these unique videos.

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Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs. Donald Meyer (ed), $22.50 (11 and up)

The boys and girls whose essays are featured in this collection range in age from four to eighteen. They share their experiences as the sibling of someone with a disability--the good and bad aspects, as well as many thoughtful observations. They are siblings of people with a variety of special needs, including autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, chronic health conditions, attention deficit disorder, hydrocephalus, visual and hearing impairments, Down syndrome, and Tourette syndrome. These personal tales introduce siblings to others like them, perhaps for the first time, and allow them to compare experiences.


We’ll Paint the Octopus Red. Stephanie Stuyve-Bodeen & Pam DeVito, $20.95 (Down syndrome) (ages 3-6)

Emma has big dreams for her new baby brother. But when she learns that he has Down syndrome, she worries that he won't be able to do many of the fun things she's imagined they'd do together. This is a reassuring story for young children as well as parents adjusting to Down syndrome and what it means for their relationship with their sibling or child. It concludes with helpful questions and answers for children about Down syndrome.


Why Do You Do That? A Book about Tourette Syndrome for Children and Young People. Uttom Chowdhury & Mary Robertson, $17.95

Written specifically for siblings, friends and classmates of children with Tourette Syndrome (TS), Why Do You Do That describes tics and Tourette's in clear, child-friendly terms and provides a simple explanation of the biological causes. Other chapters focus on living with someone who has TS, associated features such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADD/HD and aggression, and what siblings can do to help. The authors also offer practical tips on how to deal with issues such as problems at school and bullying.

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Complete Booklist

Autism in My Family: a Journal for Siblings of Children with ASD. Sandra Tucker, $25.95

Autism, the Invisible Cord: a Sibling's Diary. Barbara Cain, $13.50 (novel, ages 12-18)

Autism through a Sisterís Eyes: a Young Girlís View of Her Brotherís Autism. E. Band & E. Hecht, $16.95 (ages 10-12)

Because... Someone I Love Has Cancer: a Kidsí Activity Book. American Cancer Society, $13.95 (ages 6-12)

The Boy Who Said Nonsense. Felizia Sanzari Chernesky, $22.99

Brotherly Feelings: Me, My Emotions, and My Brother with Aspergerís Syndrome. Sam Frender & Dennis Dittrich, $19.95

Brothers and Sisters. Laura Dwight, $11.95

Camp Outlook. Brenda Baker, $11.95 (novel, ages 11-15)

David's World: a Picture Book about Living with Autism. Dagmar Mueller & Verena Ballhaus, $25.95

Everybody is Different: a Book for Young People Who Have Brothers or Sisters with Autism. Fiona Bleach, $14.95

Fasten Your Seatbelt: a Crash Course on Down Syndrome for Brothers and Sisters. Brian Skotko & SusanLevine, $24.50 (ages 12 +)

I Have a Sister, My Sister Is Deaf. Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, $8.50 (ages 4-8)

Ianís Walk: a Story about Autism. Laurie Lears & Karen Ritz, $9.99 (ages 5-8)

Iím Not Her. Janet Gurder, $11.99 (novel, cancer) (ages 14 +)

Just Because! Rebecca Elliott, $9.99

Leah's Voice. Lori DeMonia, illustrated by Monique Turchan, $18.95

My Brother Is Autistic. Jennifer Moore-Mallinos, illustrations by Marta Fŗbrega, $8.99 (ages 3-6)

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My Brother Charlie. Holly Robinson Peete & Ryan Elizabeth Peete, $21.99 (ages 10-14)

My Holly: a Story of a Brotherís Understanding and Acceptance. Julie Leavitt Wolfe, $22.95

Nobodyís Perfect. Marlee Matlin & Doug Cooney, $6.99 (novel, ages 9 Ė 12)

The Normal One: Life with a Difficult or Damaged Sibling. Jeanne Safer, $15.50

Rules. Cynthia Lord, $9.99 (ages 10-14)

Russellís World: a Story for Kids about Autism. Charles Amenta, $13.50 (ages 4-8)

The Sandwich Kid: a Film about Siblings & Disabilities. Created by Keri Bowers, Featuring Jace King, $36.95 DVD format

Sibling Stories: Reflections on Life with a Brother or Sister on the Autism Spectrum. Lynn Stern Feiges, Mary Jane Weiss & Sandra Harris, $29.50

The Sibling Survival Guide: Indispensable Information for Brothers and Sisters of Adults with Disabilities. Edited by Don Meyer & Emily Holl, $28.50

Siblings: the Autism Spectrum through Our Eyes. Jane Johnson & Anne van Rensselaer, Editors, $15.95

Sibshops: Workshops for Siblings of Children with Special Needs, Revised Edition. Don Meyer & Patricia Vadasy, $48.95

Sometimes My Brother: Helping Kids Understand Autism through a Siblingís Eyes. Angie Healy, $21.50

Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Syndrome. Coulter Video Productions, $21.95 DVD

Understanding Brothers and Sisters on the Autism Spectrum. Coulter Video Productions, $21.95 DVD

Views from Our Shoes: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs. Donald Meyer (ed), $22.50 (ages 11 +)

Weíll Paint the Octopus Red. Stephanie Stuyve-Bodeen & Pam DeVito, $20.95 (Down syndrome) (ages 3-6)

Why Do You Do That? A Book about Tourette Syndrome for Children and Young People. Uttom Chowdhury & Mary Robertson, $17.95

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