When Your “Problem” Becomes Mine: Adult Female Siblings’ Perspectives of Having a Brother with a Disability

Michelle N. Pompeo


This study is a retrospective look at adult female siblings’ perspectives of their childhoods and present identities based on having a brother with a disability. This paper focuses on siblings’ experiences within educational and public domains, and how such experiences have shaped their personalities and career choices. Qualitative findings were organized into four central themes, each with subcategories: (a) Siblings’ Fear and Worries, in-school bullying, school friends coming to the home; (b) Anger and Resentment, towards the perceived advantages of having a disability, towards teachers; (c) Positive Impacts, acceptance of others in varied public contexts, advocacy; and (d) Career Choices, entering the teaching profession. Findings are discussed in relation to both the emotional and educational significance for siblings.

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