SibSaturday is a family-centered resource and support program for siblings, ages 5 to 12 years, who have a brother or sister with a disability, mental health concern, or chronic health condition. The program is a collaborative effort of several disability groups in the Nashville area. Technical assistance and training is available to organizations wishing to begin sibling support groups in their communities.
Celebrating the Important Role of Siblings
Except for parents, no one in a family spends more time with children who have a disability than do brothers and sisters. The sibling relationship is usually the longest-lasting relationship in a family. Brothers and sisters will likely be involved in the life of a child with a disability longer than anyone, including a child's parents.
Acknowledging and Addressing Sibling Issues
Sibling concerns must not be ignored. Throughout their lives, the brothers and sisters of children with special needs will share most of the same concerns as their parents.
SibSaturdays acknowledge the often complex feelings that can come along with being the brother or sister of a person with a disability. At the same time, it reflects a belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another if given a chance.
A Typical SibSaturday
SibSaturdays are fun. Siblings play games, do a creative activity, make friends, have lunch together, and talk about what it is like to have a sibling with a disability. Siblings are grouped by ages 5-8, 9-12. SibSaturdays are led by a trained adult who has a brother or sister with a disability. Siblings report how helpful it is to know others who feel and experience what they do.
E-mail UCEDD@vanderbilt.edu with any questions.
Internationally Supported Program
- SibSaturdays are modeled on Sibshops, developed by Don Meyer, director of the Sibling Support Project and creator of the Sibshop model and training program.
- Sibshops initially were developed as a project of The Arc of the United States
- There are now over 200 SibSaturdays across the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Iceland, New Zealand, Guatemala, Belgium, Mexico, and Argentina.