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Growing Up with Someone with a Disability

by Mary McHugh

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7868-6285-8
Publisher: Hyperion

For siblings of those with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities, here is helpful advice, comfort, and the company of others who’ve been there. McHugh (formerly an editor at Woman’s World and Cosmopolitan, and a frequent New York Times contributor) grew up with a mentally disabled brother for whom she became responsible as an adult after their mother died. McHugh doesn’t shrink from the tough issues, even when looking at her own actions. Mostly, she reports, she blocked her brother and his problems out of her life as much as possible. So on one level, this is about McHugh’s own journey—one viewed wrenchingly from another angle when one of her own children becomes blind and has a leg amputated as a result of complications from diabetes. But moving on from her own experience, McHugh offers information, understanding, and resources for others, on a wide range of issues: from childhood fears about the parents” marriage, to troubles in one’s own marriage caused by caring for a disabled sibling, to the urge to somehow make it all better (“For a sibling, there is nothing more painful than watching your mother’s heart break because one of her children is wounded”). McHugh considers needs and problems for each age and developmental group, from childhood on. Real help, real comfort for those personally affected.