Supporting Siblings at School: Small Ways to Make a Big Difference for Brothers and Sisters of Children with Disabilities
Dear teachers and school personnel,
Do you know siblings of children with special needs? Chances are you do, as most kids with disabilities have at least one brother or sister.
These siblings will have the longest-lasting relationship with their brothers and sisters who have disabilities—a relationship easily in excess of 65 years. Research confirms that siblings’ concerns parallel parents’ concerns, but all too often, sibs’ issues are overlooked.
In popular culture, siblings are often portrayed as heroic and self-sacrificing. Indeed, many sibs have qualities such as insight, compassion, maturity, loyalty, pride, advocacy, knowledge of disabilities, and a commitment to social justice.
But for many, being a sib can also be hard, with feelings of guilt, resentment, isolation, embarrassment, future and safety concerns, increased caregiving demands, and a perceived pressure to be “the good kid.”