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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 Down's Syndrome, or brain injury—and what do they gain? How does the hostility and indifference of the outside world affect these normal 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.
About the Author
Linda Scotson was born in Manchester in 1945. She studied painting at the Central School of Art in London, and then taught at Croydon Art College, exhibited widely, and wrote poetry. She is the mother of her daughter Lili and her son Doran. Doran developed a blood condition shortly after birth which resulted in severe brain injury. The story of his rehabilitation is told in Linda Scotson's first book, Doran: Child of Courage. He was diagnosed with severe athetoid cerebral palsy, visual impairment and severe bilateral hearing loss. His Doctors prognosis was that Doran would never be able to sit, stand, walk or feed himself, was unlikely to have any form of speech and would not grow normally, any understanding he might have had would be frustrated by his sensory motor loss. They suggested, because of the gravity of Doran’s brain damage that he went into care. When Linda refused, they advised he be permanently sedated or he would have muscular spasms and cry continuously. Linda felt sedating Doran denied him opportunity to relate to the world around him. She politely handed back the prescribed phenobarbitone. Linda, Doran and his elder sister Lili, began an extraordinary journey. She wrote a book describing the journey Doran, Lili and herself had made so far. The book was translated into many languages and became an international best seller. Parents from all over the world contacted her asking for help.
Today Doran is six feet tall with an athletic body, he runs half marathons speaks clearly and intelligently and has become an accomplished and gifted painter. Linda points out how fortunate she is to have the help and support of her daughter Lili who works with her at Advance where they visibly change lives. The approach is now extended to many other conditions since the work of the diaphragm is key to both physical and mental health.
“The Other Child is a must read for any family with a similar circumstance . . . deeply touching and inspiring.”—The Countess Sondes
“Having a special son myself and a stepdaughter the same age, this unique story left me encouraged and inspired by the power and wisdom a family's love can manifest. You have never read such a story!”—Christine Andreas, Two-Time Tony Award Nominee
"As a doctor working in this field, the events, problems, and their solutions described by Linda in The Other Child are an excellent help for families faced with similar problems. Having worked with Linda, I can tell you she is the first person I go to for a consultation.”—Doctor Alexander Klimenov, Pediatric Neurologist"This story is mirrored in many families, including my own. Better support could ease the burden but while good intentions prevail, in practice families continue to struggle. The Other Child suggests how we can do better."—Doctor Mary T. O'Mahony, Consultant in Public Health Medicine & Medical Officer of Health “A very timely and interesting book at last pointing out all the problems parents, siblings, and affected children face. . . what stands out is the fantastic role played by their siblings, even when very young.”—Hans Loots, Emeritus Professor of Biokinetics at the University of Johannesburg