Tennessee Adult Brothers and Sisters (TABS)

TABS siblings

A support and networking group for adult siblings of individuals with disabilities.

A Support Network for Adult Siblings

TABS understand that being an adult sibling of a brother or a sister with a disability has its rewards and challenges. Giving support to and receiving support from siblings who have experienced these rewards and challenges themselves can be both healing and celebratory.

Support from peers can generate opportunities for emotional growth, can aid in making connections with services and supports from those who have “been there,” and can enable a stronger and more fulfilling bond with a brother or a sister.

Connect with siblings through the TABS Facebook page. For more information, please e-mail TABS at info.tabs@vanderbilt.edu. We are always interested in hearing from TN siblings about what needs they have and hearing siblings’ ideas of what types of support or helpful resources TABS might offer - whether its conferences, regional workshops, social events, connecting them with local families in their area, or other types of support.

TABS representatives can attend community events and provide training to families, professionals and other audiences about the needs of siblings of people with disabilities across the lifespan and to highlight resources for siblings.

TABS sponsored a successful, sold-out SibShop Capacity and
Leadership Building Institute on Aug. 19-20, 2016

Sibshops are events meant to connect and support younger siblings of brothers and sisters with disabilities. Sponsoring agencies of the Aug. 2016 facilitator training included the Tennessee School for the Blind, Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Tennessee School for the Deaf.

TABS Sibling Social Events

  • Knoxville - Regional monthly gatherings for adult siblings who have a brother or sister with a disability are held in the Knoxville on the third Thursday of each month. Contact Sherry Dunham at dunhams2@hotmail.com if you are interested in joining.
  • Nashville/Middle TN - Occasional social get-togethers for siblings are scheduled in the Nashville area – contact Emma (Shouse) Garton for more information, upcoming dates or if you’re interested in helping to plan a sibling event at 615.253.5368 or emma.shouse@tn.gov.
  • Jackson – Occasional sibling meetings are held in the Jackson area. For more information or upcoming dates, contact Evelyn Keele at evelyn.keele@yahoo.com.

Sibling Mentoring Program

Through a partnership with Tennessee Parent-to-Parent, a statewide program established to provide support, information, services, training and leadership opportunities for families of youth and children with special health care needs, we are able to provide one-to-one connections for adult siblings looking for an opportunity to talk about their sibling, themselves and their family. . Visit this webpage on TN Parent to Parent’s site to fill out a form to be a sibling mentor or to be matched with a mentor.

Local and National Sibling Resources...

Sibling Leadership Network

TABS is an official state chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network. The mission of the Sibling Leadership Network is to provide siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families. Learn more at http://siblingleadership.org/.

The Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute

The Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute is a training initiative of the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. The Institute is designed to provide adults with disabilities and family members of individuals with disabilities with the latest information on disability policy issues, and to help them become advocates for themselves, and for others in their communities. This program takes place over seven weekends throughout the year (September-November and January-April) at a hotel in Middle TN and is free for participants, including meals, hotel rooms and mileage reimbursement. Each year around 30 diverse participants from across TN are selected; application deadlines are typically in April of each year.

For more information, contact Ned Andrew Solomon, Director, Partners in Policymaking, 615.532.6556 or ned.solomon@tn.gov.

Sibling Support Project

The Sibling Support Project is a national effort dedicated to the life-long concerns of brothers and sisters of people who have special health, developmental, or mental health concerns. They believe that disabilities, illness, and mental health issues affect the lives if all family members. They want to increase the peer support and information opportunities for brothers and sisters of people with special needs and to increase parents' and providers' understanding of sibling issues.

SibNet Listserv

The SibNet Listserv is an online community for adult siblings around the world to share information and discuss issues of common interest. While this community started as a Yahoo group listserv and is still somewhat active, it is now most used through Facebook. Search “SibNet” on Facebook and request to join group this private group to get connected to the SibNet Community. There are also groups for teenagers and twenty-something sibs – search for “SibTeens” and “Sib20” on Facebook to join these private groups.

Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Links

Other Links and Resources