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Impact of disability in siblings: life stories

Alcione Aparecida Messa Geraldo Antônio Fiamenghi Jr About the authors

When a disabled child is born all the family's expectations need to be reviewed because it is an unexpected situation and needs the family system to be adjusted to the new situation. Due to the meaning that sibling relations acquire during lifetime, changes in health and functioning of a sibling will affect the others. Relations with a disabled sibling will depend on features of disability as well as its meaning shared by the family. The aim of this research was to analyze the manifestation of disability for siblings of disabled people, investigating feelings and reactions that pervade their experiences. A discussion group of siblings was created. Results indicated that each person signifies the experience of a disabled sibling according to his/her resources and life histories. The siblings showed negative feelings, such as rage, shame and guilty, as well as gains, such as maturity, independence and altruism. It can be concluded that impact of disability in siblings involves negative and positive experiences and therefore it must be considered according to a network of influences and idiosyncrasies within family relations. It is necessary that siblings are adequately supported, aiming the strengthening of their available resources.

Family; Disability; Siblings


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