Interviewee: Mom, Sarah

Son: Owen

Main Goal: More structure and build on his fitness

Could you please tell us about your family and specifically your child that attends Sibshops? 

Owen is 13 years old and has an 8 year old brother with a rare chromosome disorder who has a severe intellectual disability who is also deaf and non-verbal.

What made you motivated to get your child involved in Sibshops?

We were interested in Sibshops for Owen so that he could have peers to talk to about the experience of having a sibling with a disability while having fun. We hoped that it would help Owen make sense of the often unique and non-traditional sibling relationship he has with his brother, as well as the unique way we often need to operate as a family. There are often things that we are not able to do as a family as a result of his brother's special needs and we were hopeful that through Sibshops he would find a sense of belonging being around other kids who are experiencing similar frustrations and disappointments. Since Owen's brother often needs a tremendous amount of our attention out of necessity for his safety and well being, we wanted Owen to be part of Sibshops where the focus of his brother's disability was on Owen's experience with it.

How do you feel it's made an impact on their life?

Sibshops has helped Owen tremendously. If you ask him what he likes about it, he will tell you that #1 - It's FUN and #2 - He has made some great friends. We feel it is so important for his emotional health to have a healthy and safe environment to share his feelings about having a sibling with a disability - the good, the bad and everything in between. The kids are so understanding because they can relate to what they are going through, and they encourage one another by sharing what has been helpful to them from their experience. It truly is an invaluable resource.

What's your favorite part about having your child involved in Sibshops?

Our favorite part of having Owen in Sibshops is that it is dedicated time for him to have fun, be himself, talk to other kids who "get it" and be part of a group that helps each other navigate the complex feelings and emotions that come from having a sibling with such unique needs.

If someone was unsure about trying out Sibshops, what would you like them to know? 

If someone was unsure about whether or not to try Sibshops we would recommend they really encourage their child to give it a try. Owen did not want to go when we first told him about it. It actually took us almost a year to convince him to try it, and he loved it immediately. It is literally the #1 thing he looks forward to. Sibshops is just wonderful!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Out of the many, many services our family receives or is involved in as a result of Owen's brother's disability, we feel that Sibshops is one of the most indispensable. It not only serves Owen extremely well, but by helping Owen learn to navigate his relationship with his brother, we trust that it will serve them both immeasurably over a lifetime.