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The Sibling Slam Book

What It's Really Like to Have a Brother or Sister with Special Needs
Edited by Donald J. Meyer

Sale Price: $11.16
Savings: $4.79

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isbn# 978-1-890627-52-2
8 1/2" x 11"
186 pages
Ages 13-19

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"This book offers amazing insights for parents and educators ministering to siblings of children with disabilities."
-Children's Ministry, March/April 2007

"Although the pages are jam-packed with blunt, unedited comments laid out in fun circles and swirls that scream 'teenager' all over them, Meyer addresses the book's mature theme without sugarcoating the emotionality and challenges that are inherent in having an exceptional sibling."
-Exceptional Family, Vol. 2, No. 3, Spring 2007

"Welcome to the real world of siblinghood, described in all of its color, detail, and amazing emotional range by the experts--the sibs. These young writers stake out their territory and claim it with big honesty, a smashing sense of humor, and quiet but unstoppable courage. If you have preconceptions about people with disabilities or their siblings, leave them at the door, and get ready for a great read."
--Paul and Judy Karasik, authors of The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister's Memoir of Autism in the Family

"At turns funny, smart, opinionated and thoughtful, the teens' observations weave together a realistic portrait of the complexities of sibling relationships."
-NDSS Newsletter, Summer 2005

"A slogan for a family support organization states, 'if your child has special needs, then you do, too.' Usually we think first of the parents' needs. But what about siblings? What benefits and frustrations do they perceive about their siblings, their own roles, and how their lives have changed because of the needs of their brothers and sisters?

Editor Donald J. Meyer, host of SibKids, a listserv for brothers and sisters of kids with various special needs, remembered the slam books of his junior high days--spiral notebooks with a question at the top of each page. As the notebooks were secretly passed around the classroom, writers responded to questions posted at the top of each page. At the front of the book was a list of contributors.

Meyer discovered that slam books are still around. He also noticed that siblings posted all kinds of questions to the listserv, not only about special needs issues, but ordinary life experiences--movies, books, TV, school, the opposite sex. He asked some of the listserv contributors to pare the almost 200 questions to the 54 presented in this wonderful paperback.

The Sibling Slam Book looks like a slam book, with its composition-book cover and pages with ruled lines.

More than 70 teenagers contributed and they are listed, with photos, at the front of the book. The pages immediately following contain descriptions of their special needs siblings.

Then the fun begins--a question posted every two pages, with lots of witty, insightful, even courageous responses. The reader is not left out, as there are spaces designated for them to fill in their own thoughts.

I found the book authentic and fun. But since I'm not a member of the target audience, I asked an expert, Treavor Cudd, age 14 and brother of a 2-year-old boy with cerebral palsy, to write a review. Here's what Treavor had to say:

'In reading The Sibling Slam Book, I would rate it just like a novel or movie, with five stars being the highest rating and none being the lowest. While I was reading this book, some topics that really grabbed my attention were:

  • How would you describe your relationship with your sibling?
  • Do you like hanging out with your sibling?
  • What do you do with your sibling?
  • What do you want people to know about your sibling?
  • What do you tell friends about your sibling's disability?
  • Can you imagine what it would be like if your sibling didn't have a disability?
  • If you could change one thing about your sibling, what would it be?
Overall I award The Sibling Slam Book the highest rating--a perfect five stars for the facts, deep details, heart, character and the time and effort it took to put this amazing book together.'

Treavor and I highly recommend this book for any teen sibling of a child with special needs, or for your clinic waiting room or reference library. Expect it to become dog-eared quickly! Thanks to the editor and publisher for reaching families of children with special needs through a real and inspiring offering.

Siblings can go to the sibling support project of The Arc of the united states visit http://www.thearc.org/siblingsupport or google sibling support project."
--Laura Knight
ADVANCE for Physical Therapists & PT Assistants, September 12, 2005

"My seven-year-old kept pulling this book off of my desk, the kitchen counter, the nightstand whenever she found it, she'd pick it up and read a page or two. While she's a few years younger than the writers, I figure it's a good sign that other siblings will enjoy it, too. As a parent, I found it very worthwhile to read the thoughts and feelings of 80 teen sibling from around the United States (with a few from Australia, New Zealand and Canada included, too).

The teens' responses to 54 questions about themselves, their siblings, their families, their relationships and more made me laugh out loud, cry and think. I found myself wanting to ask my daughter these same questions to see what she had to say about, 'Do your parents include you in discussions about your sib?'"
--NDSC Down Syndrome News, Volume 28, Number 4

"*This multifaceted vehicle for eliciting some unique and many universal emotions is designed specifically for siblings of special-needs children. An adolescent mainstay, the slam book is the chosen venue for encouraging the venting of opinions, hopes, fears, frustrations, and triumphs. Comments by 81 young people display the recurring theme of optimism, complicated by hard work, dedication, resentment, and fierce protection, all as by-products of love. Some questions serve as icebreakers, such as 'What should we know about you?' and 'What should we know about your sib?' while thought-provoking chapters include 'What life lesson have you learned from being a sib?' and 'What are some advantages--good parts--of having a sibling with a disability?' Typical slam-book questions such as 'Has your sib ever embarrassed you?' are interspersed with chapters like 'Ever feel invisible?' Answers from the large sample group supply ample material so that each reader is sure to relate to some of the thoughtful or heartfelt responses. Highly recommended for all middle, high school, and public libraries."
-School Library Journal, *starred review, June 1, 2005

"If you know a teen who has a sibling with a disability, The Sibling Slam Book would be an excellent choice for a Christmas gift or any occasion."
-Breakthrough, Fall 2005

"This is a book absolutely bursting with truth. Three cheers for the strong young people who share their feelings in these pages -- and for Don Meyer, a great champion of brothers and sisters everywhere. If only I'd known you all when I was younger!"
--Rachel Simon, sister of a woman with developmental disabilities, and author of Riding the Bus with My Sister

"Sibling relationships, especially during the teenage years, can often be emotionally charged, but what happens when one sibling is a brother or sister with special needs? At times, sibs of special needs individuals feel left out and isolated with no one who understands their situation...until Don Meyer came along, that is. In The Sibling Slam Book: What It's Really Like to Have a Brother or Sister with Special Needs, Meyer, Director of the Sibling Support Project of the ARC, presents the thoughts of eighty such teens as they answer over fifty questions about life with a special needs sibling. The slam book format allows for realistic, honest, and age-appropriate answers. This is one of the best and most user-friendly books Disability Resources has come across in the growing field of 'sib books'."
--Disability Resources Online

"The Sibling Slam Book asks the kind of questions that sibs like us wonder about. Read it and get an insider's view on the joys, trials, and tribulations felt by sibs everywhere. No single story explains what it's like to have a disability or the effect it has on other kids in the family. Siblings cannot be categorized as you can see from the diverse opinions found in this book! Every sib will find a little of themselves on these pages."
--Christina and David Dudish, college-age siblings who have a sister with autism

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