Could you please tell us about your family and specifically your child that attends Sibshops?
Our daughter is 14 years old, and has been participating in Sibshops since she was 7 years old. She has an 11 year old sister with a rare neurological disorder called CDD, Autism and Epilepsy.
What made you motivated to get your child involved in Sibshops?
We were very motivated to find a support group for her. Being a sibling of a child with special needs can be very rewarding, but also has its challenges. We recognized this pretty early on. Attention is diverted from them because of unavoidable medical issues and hospital stays. The time needed to address behavioral issues and physical and speech delays also consume parents - taking away time from the Sib. Our daughter was forced to mature much faster and become more independent because of what she saw and experienced, in the home, differing from her peers. They may worry about the way the world preceives their Sibling. We were aware of the supports available to us as parents and therapies and supports available for my daughter with special needs but had nothing in place for her at the time.
How do you feel it's made an impact on their life?
Being a part of Sibshops has been a very important part of her life. She has peer support in this group, that get what she is going through. She is able to discuss issues that only pertain to kids like her, with families like hers. She has developed life-long friendships. She has also learned coping skills through discussion activities. She is better equipped to deal with some of the unique struggles surrounding our family dynamic and knows she's not alone.
What's your favorite part about having your child involved in Sibshops?
She has an outlet, just for her, that is safe and supportive. She has so much fun and looks forward to seeing her facilitators and friends. She gets to pass on her experiences to help some of the younger siblings.
If someone was unsure about trying out Sibshops, what would you like them to know?
If someone was unsure about Sibshops, I would let them know that they have nothing to lose by checking out the group. It is tons of fun, up beat, fast moving, creative and inspiring, while providing an outlet for important issues that pertain specifically to their child.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Sometimes Sibs may seem like they have it all together becasue they have no choice to be, but they need support too. They often don't want to worry their parents or be a burden. They feel the need to excel. Sibshops address many issues in a very laid back, non therapeutic, fun environment.