Siblings of children with speech impairment: Cavalry on the hill.

Jacqueline Barr, Sharynne McLeod, Graham Daniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
1241 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-32
Number of pages12
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2008


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