Siblings of Children With Speech Impairment: Cavalry on the Hill Purpose The purpose of this article was to examine the experiences of siblings of children with speech impairment, an underresearched area of family-centered practice. Method Using naturalistic inquiry, we interviewed 6 siblings and 15 significant others. Interview transcripts were analyzed for meaning statements, and meaning statements were coded ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2008
Siblings of Children With Speech Impairment: Cavalry on the Hill
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jacqueline Barr
    Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia
  • Sharynne McLeod
    Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia
  • Graham Daniel
    Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, Australia
  • Contact author: Sharynne McLeod, School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University, Panorama Ave, Bathurst, NSW, 2795, Australia. E-mail: smcleod@csu.edu.au.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2008
Siblings of Children With Speech Impairment: Cavalry on the Hill
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 21-32. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/003)
History: Received August 23, 2006 , Revised January 24, 2007 , Accepted April 5, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 21-32. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/003)
History: Received August 23, 2006; Revised January 24, 2007; Accepted April 5, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 23

Purpose The purpose of this article was to examine the experiences of siblings of children with speech impairment, an underresearched area of family-centered practice.

Method Using naturalistic inquiry, we interviewed 6 siblings and 15 significant others. Interview transcripts were analyzed for meaning statements, and meaning statements were coded and organized thematically.

Results Four major themes emerged as significant in these children’s experiences. The first theme described the typically positive relationship when siblings were together. The second theme related to the siblings' relationship in the context of outsiders, when the sibling of the child with speech impairment frequently undertook the roles of protector and interpreter. Exemplifying this, 1 mother described her daughter as the cavalry on the hill. In the third theme, the impact on self, siblings expressed jealousy and resentment as well as worry and concern toward the child with speech impairment. In the fourth theme, the impact on parent–child relationships, siblings expressed an awareness that they experienced less parental attention, had concerns regarding the impact of the circumstances on their parents, and took on a parent-like role toward the child with impairment, and for some, toward their parents.

Conclusion As part of family-centered practice, speech-language pathologists need to be aware of the important roles that siblings play and should routinely include siblings in assessment and intervention.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
This article is based on a portion of a Bachelor of Education (Primary) Honours dissertation written by the first author and supervised by the other authors. The research was supported by a Charles Sturt Foundation Honours Scholarship.
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