Workshops

Sibshops

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.

More information – Click for Sibshop FAQ.

WisconSibs Sibshop brochure 2018-2019

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.

Our Sibshop theme this year is “Sibs of Tomorrow”.  We look forward to celebrating siblings and having fun recognizing and addressing their unique roles as siblings.

Download WisconSibs Sibshop brochure 2018-2019

Sibshop 2018-2019 schedule

January 5   9AM-Noon
Kroc Center – 1315 Lime Kiln Rd, Green Bay, WI
February 9 2PM – 4PM
YMCA – 225 W Kennedy St, Kimberly, WI
March 3   1:30PM-3:30PM — S.P.A. (Sisters are Pretty Awesome) Sibshop for girls age 6 and older and their moms
Old 45 Archery –  N2779 WI-15, Hortonville, WI
April 6Celebrate Siblings’ Day at Fox Cities Kidz Expo 
Visit Sibshop at WisconSibs booth – Fox Cities Exhibition Center, Appleton
April 13Autism Society Conference
Kalahari, WI Dells, WI
May 2-3Circles of Life Sibshop for children ages 8-17 who have siblings with disabilities.  
Stevens Point, WI
For information about this conference and Sibshop
Each sibling attending this Circles of Life Sibshop must have a Registration form completed and submitted by April 18, 2019. Download Sibshop Registration for Circles 2019

Sibshops Around 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.

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

To find a Sibshop near you, click here.

Like our Facebook page to keep informed.

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 worldListen in on a Sibshop.Sibshop Frequently Asked Questions.

 

Journey Forward Workshop

Planning for the future is important for all adults as they grow older and life changes. But for people with developmental disabilities – especially those who have been cared for by their parents, who are themselves aging – it is even more important.

futureisnow2012groupWhere will they live?  Who will take care of them?  How will brothers and sisters be involved, especially if some of them live a distance away?  What resources are available to help with options?

Without adequate plans in place, adults with disabilities may face disruptive transitions when families can no longer provide care, endure emergency placements in inappropriate settings and suffer through inadequate financial and legal safeguards, all of which place a strain on siblings and other relatives.

See what siblings who have participated in Journey Forward workshops say.

Workshop Part #1The WisconSibs Journey Forward program is offered as two half-day workshops.

You’ll learn how to get started and overcome barriers many siblings experience. You’ll get tips on how to involve your sibling and other family members. Local professionals who have experience working with families with disabilities will discuss the value of Special Needs Trusts, guardianship and other important legal, care, and work issues. You’ll leave with tools for successful planning and a good sense of the support and care of other adult siblings sharing similar concerns and joys. Siblings are encouraged to bring their brothers or sisters with disabilities along with other family members important in the future plans of their sibling.

Can’t wait to get started?  Download the Journey Forward Letter of Intent

Workshop Part #2

Siblings learn what is important in making sure the plan is successful. Local professionals will discuss with siblings the options available for housing, independent living, and finances.

Once you’ve completed both workshops, you will have a written document which describes your sibling’s desired future living arrangement, community role, and lifestyle preferences. This written plan will also include practical directions and information for maintaining continuity in his or her daily life and describe the supports needed to achieve these outcomes.  This will help give you and your family peace of mind.

Fewer than half of families have developed specific plans for the future of their relative with a disability.  But even when there are plans, siblings are often not fully aware of them.  WisconSibs’ Journey Forward workshops help siblings connect and get informed.

Got Questions?

Click HERE for Q & A about Journey Forward workshops

Click HERE for Q & A from adult siblings – Feb 2019

Testimonials

Here’s how sibling Anne Muller describes her experience with Journey Forward.

katie-melanie-anne“I participated in the first series of the Journey Forward program offered by WisconSibs with my sisters Katie and Melanie. Melanie has Down Syndrome and lives with our mother.

“Siblings attend together with their sibling who has a disability and talks about their dreams for the future; such as living arrangements, job planning, daily activities, spiritual life and personal relationships that would like to be maintained. Together, we outline in detail each segment of our sibling’s life and write out on paper what our thoughts are. We have individual discussions with our sibling and also group discussions with all of the program participants.

“It can be eye-opening when you make the time to literally sit down with your sibling and ask direct questions about what their own dreams are. So often we make decisions for our sibling (or parents and caregivers make decisions for the person with the disability) without asking for their input and we assume we know what they want.

“The program gave us the tools to have the discussions in our family about planning. We also benefited from the conversations that we had with other adult siblings who are going through the same planning process such as us. During every session, we were all able to laugh together, cry together, and praise each other about our accomplishments; which were huge!

“I would definitely recommend this program to any family that has a person with a developmental disability within it. Even if you already have a concrete plan for that person, it is still a good idea to network with other siblings and share ideas, experiences, and brainstorms with each other. We are not alone and we are blessed to have the existence of the Fox Valley Sibling Support Network (now WisconSibs) in our community.” – Anne Muller

Other Testimonials

    • “I recently completed estate planning for some clients who are working through the WisconSibs on long-range planning for an adult sibling. They have done such good planning, and with excellent forethought! I’m really impressed with the effective practical tools that they are receiving from the network. Keep up the good work!” Ben A, attorney
    • “If it weren’t for WisconSibs, we would not have made the life-changing steps in Joanne’s life and ours….’making the call’ to social services & getting the BIG ball running!!! Joanne’s involvement with her mentors continues to go extremely well and adds a never-thought-of dimension to the entire family’s well-being!!!!!” Linda D, sibling
    • “What a wonderful event! Can’t thank you enough for these types of get-togethers that are so full of information. I am constantly learning about new things to research and share.” Katie G, sibling

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 altogether.  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 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.”