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The Other Child

Linda Scotson

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In “The Other Child,” Linda Scotson looks at the impact on a child at the arrival of a handicapped sibling. Lili, Linda Scotson’s daughter, was only two when Doran was born, and she has been Doran’s companion, motivator, carer — in fact, sister extraordinaire. In helping Doran, she has had to cope with other problems—with the loss of her father, ill health, and her own minor neurological difficulties. But she has done so with courage and determination.

What do siblings lose, growing up with a brother or sister with brain injury — and what do they gain? How does the hostility and indifference of the outside world affect these children’s lives? Becoming “carers” themselves, do they miss out on parental care from weary and overstretched parents? How do they reach an understanding, often when very young, of what their injured sibling can and cannot do? Shining through these stories is the love, the humor, and the constancy with which these children approach their very difficult family position — many of them, in adulthood, continuing to care for the handicapped companion of their childhood.

By drawing attention to these children, Linda Scotson not only pays tribute to their qualities but also shows how unjust the system is towards those parents struggling to keep their brain-injured child within the family. She argues for a greater network of support systems for the healthy siblings and a greater understanding of the new home treatment programs for injured children — programs in which the whole family, as a team, can participate. This will be an invaluable book for parents of brain-injured children, and for all those professionally involved in the care of such families.

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