Siblings of Individuals with Disabilities: What do you need and how do you want to connect, if at all?
February 6, 2012 2:02 PM   Subscribe

I want to start a social support network for young adult (18-35) siblings of individuals with disabilities in my area. How do I best serve this population and create meaningful connections? If you are affected in one way or another, please share your needs/insights!

Siblings of individuals with physical or intellectual disabilities are an often forgotten component of the family nucleus, which is strange considering the extensive roles we frequently play (both while the parents are alive and are deceased). It's clear that siblings grapple with isolation and lack of knowledge about the issues that impact them (see What Siblings Would Like Parents and Service Providers to Know, written by the Sibling Support Project).

To combat this, I'd like to create a social support network for fellow young adult siblings in my region. I've spoken only to a handful of fellow siblings and I'm still unsure what would serve this population the best (professional networking? support group setting? social outings? mentorship? volunteerism? joint activities to do with siblings? etc.)

Are you a sibling yourself? Or perhaps you are a social worker, service provider, or someone who is affected in one way or another? If so, please share how you would like to be served by this kind of a group.

Your input is greatly appreciated!
posted by doctordrey to Human Relations (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
110% Joint activities to do with siblings. My younger brother is autistic. And I want to often take him out with my friends and I do, but sometimes I just feel bad because I feel like I may be holding my friends back. An opportunity to meet in a community where everyone understands (or better yet doesn't need to understand and so therefore I don't have to explain any sort of behavior) would be great.

I want to be able to include my sibling in more activities, and I recently heard a statistic in my disability law class that many with disabilities are not included in society in the sense that they are isolated and at home. I think this would be a great way to create more safe places in our worlds, but that are outside the home.

A network to arrange meet ups like hikes, bowling, or picnics at a park would be great. A system like facebook event invites might work too.

Thank you SO much for doing this. Would you please share your network once you have it up and running?
posted by carpediem at 2:50 PM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I too am a sib (brother with autism), though a few years older than 35.

I would love a group geared to both emotional and logistical support, because I think that being a sibling of someone with disabilities creates unique challenges (as well as opportunities). One such challenge is helping the sibling after the parents are gone. Some people with disabilities are capable of living independently, in which case the burden on the sibling may be lighter. But many are not, which puts the non-disabled sibling in the position of having to manage, or at least supervise, the other sibling's care.

Would love to hear how you go about setting this up, so MeMail me once you've accomplished it if you like.
posted by chicainthecity at 3:46 PM on February 6, 2012

If you go to your link, under "connect with other sibs" there are facebook and yahoo groups for sibs you can join so I'm sure you'll get a lot of suggestions from there.
posted by foxjacket at 4:29 PM on February 6, 2012

If you MeMail me, I can put you in touch with my mother, who runs these kinds of workshops (albeit for younger sibs).
posted by mrfuga0 at 4:51 PM on February 6, 2012

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