If you work in the disability field chances are your focus is on people with disability and, usually, their parent carers. However, it is important that you also recognise and take an interest in siblings because:
- they will likely have the longest relationship of any with the person with disability (PWD)
- many will contribute much to the social and emotional well-being of the PWD
- some will contribute much in terms of caregiving
Many people with disability become isolated. Their relationships with siblings should be nurtured and strengthened from the very beginning, in order to reach positive outcomes. In order to strengthen those relationships, siblings need support at different stages in their lives. They often need support to develop a ‘good life’ for their brother or sister with disability and for themselves.
If you work in the health sector, you might come across siblings in their own right or as people who are supporting a PWD access your services. There are resources on this site to deepen your understanding of sibling concerns.
Support for parents
As well as linking parents to the parent page with its various services/resources, you can refer parents to the following Siblings Australia services:
- Parent information sessions on supporting siblings. If the family is engaged with the NDIS these can be claimed through a Participant Plan.
- workshops and webinars for parents.
- Our Facebook page and enewsletter can keep you up to date with our activities and services.
Support for siblings
It can be difficult to include whole family support under the current funding model for disability. Without policy re siblings, there is no real imperative for agencies to focus on siblings. But you can make a big difference when interacting with parents and siblings through acknowledging sibling contributions and their needs.
Learn more through the links to the left. Explore the Resource pages under ‘What we do’ to access various books, the Sibworks program etc. Link adult siblings to the Siblings page. You could share the following with siblings.
- Tips for young Sibs – a short document for children to understand they are not alone and learn some ways of coping.
- Sibling Factsheet MI – this was developed for siblings of young people with mental health issues but could be useful for any teen sibling.