What are Sibshops?
For the young people who attend them and the energetic people who run them, Sibshops are best described as events. Sibshops are lively, pedal-to-the metal celebrations of the many contributions made by brothers and sisters of kids with special needs. Sibshops acknowledge that being the brother or sister of a person with special needs is for some a good thing, others a not-so-good thing, and for many somewhere in between. They reflect a belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another--if they are given a chance. The Sibshop model intersperses information and discussion activities with new games (designed to be unique, off-beat, and appealing to a wide ability range), cooking activities, and special guests who may teach participants mime, how to juggle or, in the case of one guest artist who has cerebral palsy, how to paint by holding a toothbrush in your mouth. Sibshops are as fun and rewarding for the people who host them as they are for the participants.
Sibshops seek to provide siblings with opportunities for peer support. Because Sibshops are designed (primarily) for school-age children, peer support is provided within a lively, recreational context that emphasizes a kids’-eye-view. Sibshops are not therapy, group or otherwise, although their effect may be therapeutic for some children. Sibshops acknowledge that most brothers and sisters of people with special needs, like their parents, are doing well, despite the challenges of an illness or disability. Consequently, while Sibshop facilitators always keep an eye open for participants who may need additional services, the Sibshop model takes a wellness approach.
Goals of the Sibshop Model
Goal 1: Sibshops will provide brothers and sisters of children with special needs an opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, recreational setting.
Goal 2: Sibshops will provide brothers and sisters with opportunities to discuss common joys and concerns with other siblings of children with special needs.
Goal 3: Sibshops will provide siblings with an opportunity to learn how others handle situations commonly experienced by siblings of children with special needs.
Goal 4: Sibshops will provide siblings with an opportunity to learn more about the implications of their sibling's special needs.
Goal 5: Sibshops will provide parents and other professionals with opportunities to learn more about the concerns and opportunities frequently experienced by brothers and sisters of people with special needs.
*Information found at: www.siblingsupport.org