Supporting Siblings of Young People with Disabilities EDUC 810: Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities Dr. Eileen Feliciano, Instructor Autism Spectrum Annotation (Cohort 4) Bank Street College Graduate School of Education July 24, 2012 By: Zio, Gabi, Marissa, and Veronica
Intro to SibshopsSibshopsSibshops are best described as “events” or opportunities for siblingsof children with special needs (e.g., health, mental, and/ordevelopmental) to obtain peer support and education within arecreational context (e.g., games and activities) and to promoterelationship building between siblings.Sibshops Introductory Video
Introduction (cont)Sibshops are:Typically 4 hour workshops geared towards school-aged children(ages 8 to 13) who have a brother or sister with special needs.Who can participate?Siblings of children with special needs are encouraged to take part inSibshops to gain peer support within their community.What age groups?Originally developed for school-age children, but can be adapted forchildren under 8 years of age as well as for teens.
Sponsors + FacilitatorsSponsors and Facilitators:Sponsors are oftentimes agencies serving families of children withspecial needs.Facilitators can be social workers, special education teachers,occupational, physical, and speech therapists, nurses, and child lifespecialists.
Why Offer Sibshops?To reduce sense of isolation by meeting other siblings of individualswith special needs.To create positive interactions, positive self-view, and allows peers tobe involved with a peer support network.To provide an outlet for siblings to discuss their experiences, bothpositive and negative, about their siblings with special needs.To enhance the typically developing childs self-esteem by havingthem participate in team building skills.
Why Offer Sibshops? (cont)Can be easily adaptable to group size (typically with a 12:2 ratio) andhave been held for as few as 5 children to as many as 45.Are flexible; depending on the needs of the community, Sibshops canbe weekly, biweekly, or monthly.Can promote tolerance and acceptance among the sibling communityand can enhance a childs self perception as a child advocate.
Goals of SibshopsGoal #1: Provide brothers and sisters of children with special needsand opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, recreationalsetting.Goal #2: Provide brothers and sisters with opportunities to discusscommon joys and concerns with other siblings of children with specialneeds.Goal #3: Provide brothers and sisters with an opportunity to learn howothers handle situations commonly experienced by siblings of childrenwith special needs.
Goals of Sibshops (con’t)Goal #4: Provide siblings with an opportunity to learn more about theimplications of their brothers and sisters with special needs.Goal #5: Provide parents and other professionals with opportunities tolearn more about the concerns and opportunities frequentlyexperienced by brothers and sisters of people with special needs.
Sibling ConcernsOveridentification: Siblings wondering if they will catch or share thesibling problems.Embarrassment: Siblings may get embarrassed by the unwantedattention for the sibling with special needs.Guilt: Brothers and sisters may feel they caused their siblingsdisability.Isolation, loneliness, and loss: Siblings may miss having a typicallydeveloping sibling.Resentment: Siblings may feel the sibling with the disability gets allthe attention.
Sibling Concerns (cont)Increased responsibility: Sibling may feel responsible to take care ofthe sibling with a disability.Pressure to achieve: Sibling may feel like they have to be the"successful one" in the family.First hand look at Sibshops
Considerations by AgeTeens: Use psychological or metaphysical reason for the diagnosis."I think it might be Gods way of telling our family to pull it together."The Sibling Slam Book" (p. 135) / Dear Aunt Blabby (Sibshops p.235).School-Aged: Grade-schoolers may need information to answer theirown questions about the disability. "My sisters diagnosis is stronglyconnected to nail polish. I thought she got a rash because of the nailpolish, which then caused Cancer." "Sound off" (p. 125).Pre-Schoolers: "Will represent what they have been told, overheard,observed, and conjured up on their very own." Modified "Graffiti wall"(p. 133), moderator writes what the children say / “Wheel of FeelingsBeanbag Toss” (p.130).
Sample Sibshops Format SIBSHOPS: WORKSHOPS FOR SIBLINGS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS (Donald J. Meyer & Patricia F. Vadasy, 1994, Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company)10:00 A.M. Trickle In Activity: Facetags!10:20 A.M. Introductory / Peer Support Activity: Strengths & Weaknesses10:45 A.M. Recreational Activity: Knots10:50 A.M. Recreational Activity: Lap Game11:00 A.M. Recreational Activity: Stand Up!11:10 A.M. Recreational Activity: Group Juggling11:30 A.M. Recreational Activity: Triangle Tag11:40 A.M. Recreational Activity: Sightless Sculpture11:50 A.M. Lunch Prep12:00 P.M. Lunch: Super Nachos!12:20 P.M. Lunch Clean Up12:30 P.M. Peer Support Activity: Dear Aunt Blabby12:55 P.M. Recreational Activity: Push Pin Soccer1:15 P.M. Recreational Activity: Hog Call1:30 P.M. Peer Support Activity: Sound Off1:55 P.M. Closure
Graffiti Wall – p. 133Purpose: Graffiti Wall allows siblings to creatively express and discuss a wide range of feelings they may have toward their brothers, sisters and parents.Materials: butcher paper, markers, and crayons.Procedures: 1) Close eyes: Think of how you feel about your sibling - mixed? 2) Go to the wall: Express your emotions in pictures or writing. 3) Share stories and pictures. Meyer, D. and P. Vadasy. (2007). Sibshops: Workshops for siblings of children with special needs. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brooks Publishing Company
Concluding Questions1. What do you see as both observers and participants as thepotential benefits to Sibshops?2. Pitfalls?3. Comments and/or Concerns.
Further InformationWebsite: http://www.siblingsupport.orgBookstore: http:astore.amazon.com/thesibsuppro-20Sibling Stories Blog: http://siblingstories.blogspot.comSibling Support Project: (206) 297-6368Training Calendar: http://plus.calendars.net/sibshop
BibliographyConway, S., Meyer, D., (2008) Sibling of Young People with Disabilities, Support for Learning,Vol. 23. Number 3.Cooke, J., Semmens, C., (2009) Development and Evaluation of a Support Group for Siblings ofChildren on the Autism Spectrum, GAP, Volume 1, Page 11.Meyer, D., Vadasy, P., (1994) SibShops: Workshops for Siblings of Children with Special Needs,Paul Brooks Publishing Company., inc. MarylandMeyer, D., (2005) The Sibling Slam Book: What its REALLY like to have a brother of sister withSpecial Needs,, Woodbine House Inc.Reinke, J. (2012, April). Siblings of individuals in the autism spectrum: An important theoreticalperspective. EP Magazine, DOI: www.eparent.comhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrRBAbd7n6Q&feature=BFa&list=PL76FE901510C9023Bhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrRBAbd7n6Q&feature=BFa&list=PL76FE901510C9023B