Sibshops for Children Ages 6-12

WisconSibs Sibshops are workshops for children ages 6-12 who are brothers and sisters of children with disabilities or long-term illnesses.  Typically lasting three to four hours, Sibshops are lively, relaxed events that combine recreation, information, and discussion, and give siblings the opportunity to celebrate the contributions and the challenges of their brothers and sisters with others their age who “get it.”

Sibshops are guided by trained facilitators (school psychologists, teachers, counselors or adult siblings, for example) in small, age-appropriate groups.  All are trained in sibling issues, and always keep an eye open for participants who may need additional support.

The Sibshop concept was created by Don Meyer, director of the Sibling Support Project, who continues to oversee the training of new leaders and the registration of official Sibshop.  Harriet Redman, WisconSibs executive director, is a first-generation trained facilitator.

More information – Click for Sibshop FAQ.

For information about joining the WisconSibs troupe of Sibshop facilitators, click here.


Sibshops in Northeastern Wisconsin

Sibshops have been offered monthly during the school year in northeastern Wisconsin since 1997 by the Fox Valley Sibling Support Network, now known as WisconSibs/Fox Valley.  Most are for boys and girls, but our S.P.A. (Sisters are Pretty Awesome) Sibshop is just for girls and their moms, and our H.U.L.K. (Huggable Unselfish Loveable Kids) Sibshop is just for boys and their dads.

Sibshop 2016-2017 schedule

February 4, 2017 – Bring A Friend Sibshop
9 am – NOON

Neenah YMCA – 11 W North Water St, Neenah

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE

March 4, 2017 – HULK Sibshop for boys and Dads- 9 am – noon
Fox Valley Lutheran HS – 5300 N Meade St, Appleton

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE

Sibshops Across the State

Want to attend Sibshops but not able to make it to the scheduled locations?  Some local Arc or CESA organizations occasionally host these workshops, so check with them to see whether any are scheduled for your area.  To find a Sibshop near you, click here.  Like our Facebook page to keep informed.

Sibshops are celebrations of the many contributions made by brothers and sisters of kids with special health or developmental needs.

Or, if you are an agency or individual wanting to know more about offering Sibshops where you live, contact the WisconSibs office.

Sibshops are celebrations of the many contributions made by brothers and sisters of kids with special health or developmental needs.

Whether you come to all the Sibshops, or just a couple, you are always welcome. You will find friends there.

Upcoming Sibshops

Join us for monthly Sibshops from September through April.  WisconSibs is proud to be a registered Sibshop provider, along with over 800 Sibshops registered throughout the world.  Contact us for information about Sibshops at WI state Autism Conference and Circles of Life conference.

Find a Sibshop in your part of the world

Listen in on a Sibshop.  Sibshop Frequently Asked Questions.


Welcome to Our World

Over 60% of children who have a sibling with cognitive disabilities expect to take care of their sibling when they become adults

our-worldEven very young children understand that they play a role in their sibling’s life.  Siblings are important role models for their brothers and sisters, their classmates, even other relatives.  They also quickly become important advocates and often caregivers for their siblings.  When parents recognize that their “typical” children need support, they can help ensure these experiences are positive and their children are prepared to cope with challenges while celebrating the joys of having a sibling with special needs.


Why do parents enroll their children in WisconSibs events?

Here’s what they tell us:

  • “To gain skills in dealing with the ups and downs of being a sibling and make friends with other sibs.”
  • “She has been wanting to come to Sibshops since she was 3!”
  • “Fun, friendship, support.”
  • “Get to know other sibs who struggle with the same frustrations.”
  • “Time he can be with other kids and not have to worry about sister interrupting!”
  • “Her older brother is in a wheelchair, non-verbal, G-tube fed.  He is always first as he requires a lot from me.  She needs her time.”
  • “It is very important to have an outlet for our son to socialize with other siblings of special needs kids. I’m not sure he truly understands just how different his brother is – which is very heartwarming, at times.  But like many families, our ability to participate in many activities – like going swimming or going to Badger Sports Park – wouldn’t be possible all together.  Thank you for organizing such great group activities!”
  • “WisconSibs provides a resource to Wisconsin that is like no other.  We are pleased to have benefitted from this unique opportunity for both of our children.”
  • “I think it is valuable for our children to meet others who have siblings with disabilities. I think having my child in a group with someone from her home town was awesome, a great way to make a new friend in the area who also lives day to day with a sibling with special needs :).”
  • “I have always been impressed with the quality and professionalism provide by FVSSN [now WisconSibs].”
  • “Sibshops offers my daughter a chance to spend time with other kids like herself. It gives her a place to freely express her feelings, both positive and negative, regarding her sister and the family situation.  I think Sibshops help her to realize that it is ok to not always be thrilled with everything about her sibling but still love her.  I also think Sibshops help to increase the compassion for people with disabilities.  I know Sibshops has increased her awareness of different types of disabilities.  While most children her age don’t understand disabilities and may stare or make comments, she is very comfortable and will happily interact with people with disabilities besides her sister.”
  • “I know Sibshop played a role in helping my son, a former Sibshop participant, develop into the person he is today. He is a compassionate person and very comfortable interacting with his sister and happy to educate others regarding people with disabilities.”