In the previous two blogs we discussed how siblings are feeling when they have a brother or sister with a special need. We began to explore ideas for supporting sibs. Well,
HOW ABOUT SIBSHOPS?
Sibling’s anxieties, fears and doubts can be addressed through group work.
In some communities a group meeting is formed for siblings to come together. These are called Sib shops
The meeting is an opportunity for sibs to come together to receive peer support and education within a fun recreational manner
One agency or more could come together to offer this group
A group could be run by a social worker, teacher, nurse, psychologist or an adult sibling of a person with special needs
Groups are NOT therapy but often have a therapeutic effect.
Facilitators of the group keep an eye on the individuals in the group and see if any might need additional services
Groups can be as small or as large as the facilitators feel is positive. Some say a group of 12 with two facilitators works well.
Each community determines what day, or time or space to be used. Some groups can be as short as 1.5 hours or as long as 4 hours. Groups can be weekly, monthly or quarterly Most are bi-monthly.
Groups can be developed according to ages (5 to 7, 8 to 12, 13 to 18, 19 to 25 other)
Games, discussions, arts & crafts and speakers are activities used to connect participants
Sometimes lunch or snacks are served & they learn about special needs
They meet other siblings in a relaxed recreational setting
They discuss common concerns and positive experiences
They learn how to handle common experiences they encounter having a sib with special needs
Some SIBSHOP DISCUSSIONS ARE:
How did you learn about your sib’s disability? How was it explained to you?
Is your life different from other kids? How?
What are the good parts of having a brother/sister who has special needs?
What are the not so good parts?
What do you think will happen when you and your brother/sister grows up?
Are friends and classmates ever a problem? What do you do?
What do you think parents should do for brothers/sisters of kids with special needs?
Is being a brother or sister of a special needs person different than being a brother or sister of a typical child?
Other TOPICS For Discussions can be: ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER, ANGELMAN SYNDROME, AUTISM, CEREBRAL PALSY DOWN SYNDROME, EPILEPSY & SEZIURES, HYDROCEPHALUS, TOURETTE SYNDROME. Understanding the disability helps bring acceptance.
Sibs Lives Can Be Happier When We Help them acquire knowledge and address their questions
Parents Lives Can Be Happier When They:
Learn how to support their child with special needs and their typical developing children
When they take care of themselves as well (Take time for themselves, Eat Well & Seep Well)
Find other parents with similar challenges and comfort each other
Can learn to ask for help from professionals
When they are allowed to express their feelings
When we offer Sib shops we help everyone.....
Perhaps you can design and offer a sib shop in your community.