Syosset resident Lorraine Donlon was doing research on agencies and group homes for her two special-needs sisters when she stumbled across Bethpage's Adults and Children with Learning and Developmental Disabilities (ACLD). The not-for-profit agency serves the needs of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families and their mission is to provide the opportunity for children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities to pursue enviable lives, increase their independence and improve the quality of their lives.
"I felt so lucky that ACLD was so close to me," said Donlon. "People all over the world search for these services and I was so lucky that they are only a few miles away."
Being the sibling of special-needs children, Donlon knew the importance of communication to better understand what her sisters were going through and being an elementary school teacher, she knew how important it was to reach these siblings at a young age.
Thus, her book The Other Kid was born.
According to Donlon, the book is geared toward siblings of children with not only a developmental disability, but a serious illness, disability or injury. This unique, child-friendly workbook was designed to help children cope with the emotional impact of having a special needs sibling.
"Parenting a child with cancer, autism or any debilitating condition is a challenge and a life-altering experience," said Donlon. "Having a brother or sister with special needs is a challenging experience for a child as well."
All of the proceeds from the book will go to ACLD in Bethpage. The Other Kid can be purchased by visiting www.theotherkid.com, by calling 1-866-229-9244 or on amazon.com.
The workbook is now available through the Ronald McDonald House and is in English and Spanish. "Sometimes kids just don't have the words to tell you how they feel," said Donlon. "The Other Kid guides you through a thoughtful and supportive conversation, allowing siblings to express their feelings in a safe and loving way."