Memo's from Sophia Nicholls, Executive Secretary of ASNA.


A siblings experience

'CJ, .... CJ ...... come here' I called from the top of the stairs. CJ? Did you hear me calling you. 'CJ' I called again this time with utter disbelieve that this young 4 year old would flout his mothers' instructions.

As I stood at the top of the stairs with CJ at the bottom of the stairs, I started to think. 'Hold on' I thought, did he hear me or is he being naughty? Panic set in as it began to dawn on me that maybe ..... I began to think the worst, was CJ deaf?

Having an older sibling with severe learning difficulties who started to show signs of developmental delay around the age of four sent me into a panic. 'CJ' I called again. This time I tapped him on the shoulder and he looked up smiling. 'Did you hear me call you' I asked curiously. 'No mummy.' he said innocently. Placing my hand over my mouth I asked another question only to receive a blank, confused look. Removing my hand and asking the question again he answered without hesitation. Repeating the 'experiment' I realised that CJ could not hear and that he was lip reading.

I immediately called the GP and booked an appointment. This revealed a well known childhood condition known as glue ear (partial or complete loss of hearing due to an occlusion caused by fluid build up within the inner ear )which, with treatment over 4 years completely disappeared.

CJ has since grown to be a young man. He does not quite remember the glue ear period, he does however remember growing up with an older brother with severe learning difficulties.

He shares his experiences (in the video below) of having a brother with a disability and the impact on the family. He also describes his loving relationship with his brother and how the charity ASNA has helped him and others understand the benefits of diversity within the family structures.

We hope you will find the video informative as CJ describes his experience of living with a brother with additional needs.

We hope, as a result of the video, you will gain an insight into the life of siblings and young carers with brothers and sisters or the young people with parents with additional needs as they navigate the joys and challenges they experience in their lives.

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If you would like further information about ASNA or would like to become a member, please contact Sophia Nicholls at:


Phone: 01491 821104 / 01491 821103 / 07768 298297

Registered Charity: 1100447

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