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twin brother (in wheelchair) and sister talk
                  to each other in the conservatory of their home

Every sibling relationship has its fair share of highs and lows. However, siblings who have a brother or sister with learning difficulties tend to feel a greater sense of responsibility.

Siblings with a brother or sister with learning difficulties have said they have feelings of guilt about their brother or sister's disabilities and isolation from not knowing others in the same situation as themselves.


They also talk about their pride in their brother or sister, and the ways they have fearlessly stood up for them. They are often well-adjusted and mature, taking responsibility beyond their age.

Lydia and Harvey

  • Listen to Harvey's dad
    (Simon) talk about Harvey's
    impact on Lydia.
    How does Lydia's father see their relationship?
Sibling support

The quotes from Ryan and Anne below are taken from Views from our Shoes (Meyer 2007), as featured on the Sibling Support Project website.

To end this, I just want to tell all people, young and old, please resist the urge to stare at people who have disabilities. I do sometimes but after a while, I regret it. And don't take pity on my family! We are normal! Just because my brother has cerebral palsy doesn't mean we are aliens or anything! We have feelings, a brain, and a heart just like every other person in this world. So does my brother!

(Anne Meade, 14, talks about her brother)

Lindsey is my only sibling. It is hard to put into words what having a sister with special needs is like, but I can't imagine having a plain old sister. Sometimes I wish she wasn't handicapped – but she is and I can't change that or cure her.

I like to hear Lindsey laugh. I don't like it when Lindsey cries or gets in trouble. Sometimes I'm scared for Lindsey because I can't predict what she will do next. She's in her own little world. Lindsey is a 'free spirit' and likes to wander around our neighborhood. We have a fence around my house to keep her safe.

(Ryan Clearwater, age 10, talks about his sister)