Who We Serve

Young Siblings

For children ages 6-12 who have siblings with special needs or a long-term illness, we offer a variety of programs.

Adult Siblings

Planning for the future is important for any adult as life changes.  For adults who have siblings with disabilities, WisconSibs offers workshops, seminars and social gatherings that help provide information, connections with important resources and even some fun.

Parents

Raising children may take a village, but also a keen awareness of the special needs of not only a child with disabilities, but their typical siblings.  WisconSibs offers information for parents and provides an outlet for siblings to find peer support through Sibshops, summer camps and opportunities for families to have fun together and make memories.

Professionals

WisconSibs is a source of information about sibling issues for professionals and regularly collaborates with professionals and their organizations to offer programs and projects that support siblings and people with disabilities.

In the U.S. over six million people have disabilities.  Most have typically developing brothers and sisters.  These brothers and sisters are too important to ignore, if for only this reason: they will be in the lives of family members with disabilities longer than anyone.  Theirs is a relationship that can easily exceed 65 years.  When provided with support and information, these brothers and sisters can help their siblings with disabilities live dignified lives from childhood to their senior years.

Don Meyer
Director, Sibling Support Project
Author and creator of Sibshops®


The Sibling Journey

No one knows you like your sibling. Throughout life, there are good times and hard times, even if a disability is not in the picture.  Yet growing up with a sibling with disabilities has some unique concerns that researchers, parents, and siblings themselves often describe.  For example, siblings:

  • often feel undue guilt about having caused the illness or disability, or being spared having the condition.  They need information about the disability or illness throughout their lives.
  • often feel isolated when they are excluded from information available to other family members, ignored by service providers, or denied access to peers who share their often ambivalent feelings about their siblings
  • sometimes feel resentment when the child with special needs becomes the focus of the family’s attention or is permitted to engage in behavior not allowed other family members
  • perceive pressure to achieve in academics, sports, or behavior
  • take on increased caregiving demands, especially for older sisters
  • worry about the future-their own and their sibling’s
  • are proud of their siblings and feel positive about their role as siblings

Did You Know?

  • Siblings often have insights on the human condition like no one else as a result of growing up with a brother or sister with special needs
  • Often they are more mature than peers as a result of successfully coping with a sibling’s special needs
  • They are proud of their sibling’s abilities
  • Siblings appreciate their own good health and loyal to their siblings and families