Having a brother or sister with a disability can be isolating and confusing for siblings. Connecting siblings with each other is a valuable way to break down isolation, provide social support for peers that have similar experiences and establish a link with the Family Support Worker to address any concerns that siblings may have.
In the past St Anthony’s has organised Siblings’ Events where siblings have come together to participate in fun recreational activities. These events have enabled siblings to leave behind the additional responsibilities they have in assisting with the care of a brother or sister with a disability, and focus on their own needs, wellbeing and friendships with peers.
St Anthony’s is currently exploring options to offer siblings a structured group program that will enable siblings to discuss how having a brother or sister with a disability has impacted on their lives. The program would focus on issues such as self-esteem, managing feelings, problem solving, decision making, effective communication and support networks in a supportive peer environment. St Anthony’s aim in exploring this initiative is to promote resilience, enhance coping resources and develop life skills that will assist in dealing with the challenges that come with having a brother or sister with a disability.