Sibshops – Program for siblings of Special Needs children
Sibshops are a wonderful program specially designed for the siblings of Special Needs children. They are fun-filled opportunities for them to meet other siblings and share their thoughts and feelings about a sibling of a Special Needs brother or sister. This program intersperses discussion activities with games and crafts. Most importunately, it provides the opportunities for peer support.
Michele Hafeli is very passionate about this and runs the program locally out of a Lake Orion Methodist church and is looking for participants. She is currently waiting on grant information and is open to any sponsorships.
When asked why this is so important she responded “Most agencies, therapies and schools promote a Family Approach but the nuerotypical siblings are not often included. They will be the ones that have the longest relationship with their Special Needs brother or sister yet rarely do they participate in any discussions or treatments. Sibshops also also siblings to have a function just for them that allows them to feel they too are special and recognized for their own gifts and challenges.”
There are many positive traits that Siblings often develop, they are: responsible, conscientious, mature, resilient, patient, tolerant, accepting, and tend to gravitate to toward helping professions. However, many siblings also report that they often feel: resentment, jealousy, anxiety, guilt, embarrassment, isolation, and pressure to achieve.
Sibshops look to maximize the positive traits and minimize the negative feelings through discussion, peer support and time to feel “special” and “celebrated” themselves.
Sibshops are typically designed for children ages 8-13 who have a brother or sister with a cognitive, developmental or physical disability. The program is flexible and can be altered to meet the needs of children older or younger.
Programs usually run every month during the school year. Michele can be contacted at [email protected]
Watch this video link from May 1st as Michele Hafeli in our Clarkston clinic explains the program.