Care between siblings where one has a disability - How is it enacted and what does it mean for policy?

| | 20 Jun 2017

A recent article in the Journal of Youth Studies by Ariella Meltzer explores care between young adult siblings where one has a disability.

Drawing on a qualitative study of 25 siblings with disabilities and 21 siblings without disabilities aged 15–29, the article explores how young adult siblings perceive, talk and act with regard to the different types of care enacted between them.

The article identifies how, during young adulthood, personal care and care that requires a sibling without a disability to direct the behaviour of a sibling with a disability can endanger both siblings’ capacity to feel like siblings, instead pushing them into relations that feel more like a parent, manager or carer relationship. The article also discusses ways that young adult siblings talk and act in low-key, everyday ways in order to – as best they can – keep their role within the bounds of a normative sibling relationship.

The findings are discussed in light of social policy implications for the extent to which young adult siblings of people with disabilities should be called ‘young carers’ and about how services might best be set up to support the relationships shared between young adult siblings with and without disabilities.

An accessible blog piece drawing on the article is also available at Clickability.

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