TABLE OF CONTENTS – SIBLING RESOURCES
- Our Message to You: Who We Are and How to Contact Us
- Sib Share – A Local Meet-up of Adult Siblings
- Sibling Organizations and Resources
- Books by Siblings (available from the lending library)
OUR MESSAGE TO YOU
WHO WE ARE & HOW TO CONTACT US
ABOUT US, WHO WE ARE: We are adult siblings who have a sister or brother with a disability. We have been attending various virtual conferences and learning events put on by other sibling groups over the last two years. We did this to learn more about sibling meet-ups and issues facing siblings like us. It has led to connections with other siblings – locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. We have been amazed at the strength of the siblings we have met, the common realities we all face, and the wonderful resources available. It is our hope to share some of our knowledge with other siblings, and also to learn from each other in the our local Sib Share meet-ups. It has been an honour charting this pathway together. We look forward to making more connections locally and beyond….. Sincerely, Heather, Catherine and Kyla
HOW TO CONTACT US: As sibling leaders and volunteers, there are two ways to contact us:
- Email us by using this email address: email@example.com
- Phone and leave us a voice mail at 519-974-1008. (Windsor-Essex Family Network’s phone number). Your name and phone number will be provided to us and one of us will call you back.
Sib Share – A Local Meet-up of Adult Siblings
Sib Share is an informal monthly gathering (fall through June) of adult siblings from Windsor and Essex County. As siblings we believe our experiences and perspectives are unique to us, and they are also different than our parents at times. We appreciate meeting other siblings who understand ‘what it is like’, and to have the opportunity to get-together to chat about all things related to being a sister or brother of someone with a disability. We gather (virtually or in person depending on the circumstances) to talk, listen, learn, laugh, share experiences, ideas and resources. During the first 5 or 10 minutes of each gathering, we share a new resource or piece of information on topics that siblings have identified as important. Following that we have an open and informal discussion on other things – whatever is on our minds!
Our meet-ups are held the second Thursday of the month from 7 to 8 pm. Meeting dates from Fall 2022 to Summer 2023 are as follows: October 13, November 10, and December 8, 2022; January 12, February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11, and June 9, 2023. To receive the Zoom link for our next virtual gathering go to this link: https://forms.gle/E4dQVWE5Fw3RXdSp8 OR email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We encourage adult siblings, sib-in-laws and sibling figures at various stages of life – cousins, aunts, uncles, spouses, others – to join us as we talk about what it means to support our family members who are living with disabilities. We welcome first-timers to join in for one of our gatherings just to check things out.
There are some very good resources available for younger siblings and their families, and/or links to organizations. Some of that is available below. However, we do not host a sibling support group for siblings under 18 years of age. There have been local sibling groups for children and teens in the past (prior to the pandemic). We hope to see them start again soon and will post the information on our website once they do.
To learn more email us with any questions you have about our adult sibling meet-ups, available resources on topics that may interest you, or how you can borrow from the lending library. One of our sibling leaders will get back to you. Our confidential email address is: email@example.com.
Sibling Organizations and Resources
Note: The headings below are the links to the following organizations and resources.
- Siblings Canada (formerly The Sibling Collaborative) recognizes that while our experiences as siblings are diverse and profound, our perspectives, needs and ideas are often overlooked. We exist to ensure that Canadian siblings of people with disabilities are recognized, valued and supported.
- Siblings Canada Infographic: Over 350 siblings from across Canada participated in an on-line survey in 2021 about the experiences and needs of adult siblings when it comes to supporting the financial and overall well-being of their siblings with disabilities. Click on the infographic title to see the highlights learned.
- We are a national non-profit whose mission is to provide siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.
- Good Things in Life podcast #019 – an interview by Genia Stephens with Eric Goll
A group of sibling advocates with a vision for a more inclusive Canada. The focus of this group is youth, ages 14 – 29, who have a sibling living with a disability. Check out the report below with recommendations to government and also check out their advocacy guidebook.
- A series of recommendations for empowering the advocacy of young siblings in Ontario, Siblings with a Cause Recommendations prepared by siblings from across Ontario that align with Canada’s federal Youth Policy. Youth siblings give direction to decision-makers in Ontario about what siblings need as advocates for their loved ones who have a disability. Specifically, the recommendations speak to the types of supports and resources siblings need to ensure their well-being and to plan for the future with confidence.
- An advocacy guidebook designed exclusively for youth advocates of a sibling with a disability, Siblings: Citizens with a Cause, Workbook content includes the following topics: self-care as an advocate; self reflection on your unique sibling experiences; tools and resources. Take a look inside by using the guidebook link.
“The Sibling Support Project is a national program (in the United States) dedicated to the life-long and ever-changing concerns of millions of brothers and sisters of people with special health, developmental, and mental health needs.” Check out the videos on their home page and more by clicking the title of this section. The Sibling Support Project is known for a number of initiatives including Sibshops, which are “lively events for school-age siblings of kids with special needs. More than 500 Sibshops exist throughout the US and around the world.” Other Sibling Support Project initiatives include such things as: online communities for brothers and sisters; books and papers they have published; and training. To learn more click here About the Sibling Support Project 2021, and read the one-pager from which the information above was adapted.
Excellent and informative PAPERS by the Sibling Support Project including some good information about younger siblings can be found at the Our Papers button on this page: https://siblingsupport.org/publications/
Books by Siblings
Check out the books below. They are all available from the Lending Library at Windsor-Essex Family Network. BORROWING BOOKS: If you are interested in borrowing any books, please email us. Arrangements can be made for picking up books at the main doors of the building where the ‘Family Network’ offices are located, 7025 Enterprise Way, Windsor.
Riding the Bus with My Sister,
A True Life Journey
by Rachel Simon
Rachel Simon’s sister Beth is a spirited woman who lives intensely and often joyfully. Beth, who has an intellectual disability, spends her days riding the buses in her unnamed Pennsylvania city. The drivers, a lively group, are her mentors; her fellow passengers are her community. One day, Beth asks Rachel to accompany her on the buses for an entire year. This wise, funny, deeply affecting true story is the chronicle of that remarkable time. Note: Riding the Bus with My Sister was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie starring Rosie O’Donnell and Andie McDowell, and directed by Anjelica Huston.
Author’s website: https://www.rachelsimon.com/
The Sibling Slam Book: What it’s Really Like to Have a Brother or Sister with Special Needs
Edited by Don Meyer
Give teenagers a chance to say what’s on their minds, and you might be surprised by what you hear. That’s exactly what Don Meyer, creator of Sibshops and author of Views from Our Shoes did when he invited together a group of 80 teenagers, from all over the United States and abroad, to talk about what it’s like to have a brother or sister with special needs. Their unedited words are found in The Sibling Slam Book, a brutally honest, non-politically correct look at the lives, experiences, and opinions of siblings without disabilities
Special Note: Emma Fialka-Feldman (daughter of Janice Fialka and Richard Feldman, sister of Micah Fialka-Feldman, long-time friends of Windsor-Essex Family Network) is mentioned in the book. You can visit Emma’s blog here: http://emmaff.blogspot.com/.
Being the Other One: Growing Up with a Brother or Sister who has Special Needs
by Kate Strohm
Being the Other One is based on the author’s own experience (as a sibling of a sister with cerebral palsy) and on extensive interviews she conducted with siblings of all ages. In clear and compassionate terms, Strohm explores the often secret feelings of siblings and offers valuable strategies for coping with the challenges they face.
Link to the book: https://www.shambhala.com/being-the-other-one.html
Nothing Special: The Mostly True, Sometimes Funny Tales of Two Sisters
by Diane Bilyak
A Memoir about Disability and Siblinghood. . . Nothing Special is a disarmingly candid tale of two sisters growing up in the 1970s in rural Connecticut. Older sister Chris, who has Down syndrome, is an extrovert with a knack for getting what she wants, while the author, her younger, typically developing “Irish twin,” shoulders the burdens and grief of her parents, especially their father’s alcoholism . . . . Poet and disability advocate Dianne Bilyak strikes a rare balance between poignant and hilarious as she paints a compassionate and critical real-world picture of their lives. They struggle, separately and together, with the tension between dependence and independence, the complexities of giving versus receiving, the pressure to live as others expect, and in the end, the wonderful liberation of self-acceptance.
Author website: http://diannebilyak.com/