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What parent doesn’t worry about their children, regardless of their age? Add in a child with special needs, and demands sometimes become overwhelming.

How does this affect typical-developing children in the household? How do you balance the needs of your child with special needs and your typical children?

Check out what parents said in this Chicago Parent magazine article about raising siblings of kids with special needs.

Dads join their sons for the H.U.L.K. Sibshop. Sisters love including their Moms in the S.P.A. Sibshop.

Dads join their sons for the H.U.L.K. Sibshop. Sisters love including their Moms in the S.P.A. Sibshop.

Santa Celebration features activities that delight children with special needs, their siblings and parents.

Santa Celebration features activities that delight children with special needs, their siblings and parents.

WisconSibs Sibshops are for the typical siblings.  We meet every 4-6 weeks to connect, to learn, and mostly, to have fun with others who understand.  Usually, we all meet together.  But our S.P.A. (Sisters are Pretty Awesome) Sibshop, however, is for girls and their Moms.  And the H.U.L.K. (Huggable Lovable Unselfish Kids) Sibshop is for boys and their dads, older brothers or grandpas.

Curious what siblings think parents should know?  Click What Siblings Want Parents and Service Providers to Know.

Welcome to Our World

At WisconSib events, parents like the opportunity to talk with other parents. There’s also a new online connection for parents called SibParent.

sc11parentsnetworkingSibParent, sponsored by Don Meyer’s Sibling Support Project, is a new, innovative online group where parents can discuss the joys and concerns experienced by their typically developing children. It is hosted by a mom of children with and without special needs.

Since many SibParent participants are also parents of kids who attend Sibshops throughout the world, SibParent is also a forum for parents who want to support the Sibshop movement. Like the Sibling Support Project’s other online groups, SibParent is a warm, thoughtful community.

If you’re a parent who’s concerned about the well-being of all your kids, we hope you’ll join us!  To join, just click here.

Ten Simple (often not so simple) Rules for Parents


Siblings’ experiences closely parallel their parents’ experiences. Siblings take their cues on how to respond to situations from their parents.


Siblings need information about their brother’s or sister’s condition, including how it is evaluated and treated. Not knowing causes greater fear than knowing.


within the family about the disability or illness and your positive and negative experiences with it will help your children be comfortable with talking with you.


Acknowledging concerns can go a long way in helping siblings cope with altered lives, pressures and worries.


Siblings often hear their parents get excited about something the child with a disability has accomplished. Remember to also celebrate your other children by recognizing their own strengths and accomplishments, as well.


Find some “one on one” time with your child you both can enjoy and cherish.


There are stressful events such as the reaction of people in public, unexpected disruptions to family plans, and extra home responsibility. Recognize that children need a break from time to time to cope.


Siblings often want training or ideas for caring for or playing with their brother or sister. Help brainstorm some ideas or involve therapists in coming up with ideas for play.


Although difficult to watch, teasing, arguing and other forms of conflict are common among most brothers and sisters – even when one has special needs. It’s normal and can be beneficial to both typical and special needs children in the family.


Find ways that your typical child can meet other siblings and families who have a child with special needs.

While growing up with a brother or sister with a disability is not always easy, the experience can also be rewarding. The key to keeping things positive is to be able to express honest feelings with people who care and “get it”, to be informed, and to find opportunities to celebrate. That’s where WisconSibs programs can help. Find out more here.