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Supporting Child and Adult Siblings

The relationship between siblings is often one of the longest-lived and strongest connections – they are usually in each other’s lives longer than anyone else. Sibling relationships are even more fundamental, complex and meaningful when one of the siblings has a disability. In those families, siblings can take on many roles – friends, confidants, assistant therapists, caregivers, defender and rival. The Family Support team has gathered some resources, articles and webinars to help parents and caregivers support siblings and build positive relationships.

Building a Positive Sibling Relationship Sibs, an organization from the UK, supports children and adults who have a brother or sister with a disability. There are many excellent resources on their website for siblings and parents, including this guide on supporting positive sibling relationships. Find information on how to respond to your child’s feelings, deal with rivalry and build a sibling support network. Read More

Autism, my Sibling and Me Guide This fun and engaging workbook created by the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) is designed for siblings between the ages of 5 and 10. Various activities help children to learn more about autism, understand their siblings behaviour, learn why there may be different rules or expectations for them and how to deal with big emotions and stressful situations. A similar guide for teens is also available on the OAR website. Read More

One Parent’s Tips for Supporting Siblings Dyan Robson, a mom blogger with two children, wrote this short article for the CBC Parenting site about how parents can support children growing up with a sibling with a disability. Breaking down the common narratives that siblings with a disability are either a burden or make other children into compassionate superheroes, Dyan gives realistic and practical advice to help caregivers support all of their children effectively. Read More

New Canadian Organization – The Sibling Collaborative The Sibling Collaborative is a new Canadian organization that is building networks of support and resources for adult siblings while advocating for positive changes. The Sibling Collaborative envisions a Canada where people with disabilities – together with their siblings –experience positive wellbeing and inclusion. Support is available through an active Facebook discussion page, online meet ups and direct peer support. Read More

Book Recommendation – My Brother Charlie Holly Robinson Peete wrote this children’s book with her twins, daughter Ryan and son Rodney. In the book, Charlie’s big sister shares the strengths and challenges her brother faces due to being autistic. Engaging and empathetic, My Brother Charlie can help children understand their siblings with a disability and see them in a different light. Available from online retailers and at local bookstores.

Wellness and Self-Care for Siblings Webinar Autism Ontario has created an hour-long webinar for children with a sibling on the autism spectrum. The webinar was recorded during the initial COVID 19 lockdown in 2020, but many of the tips, advice, exercises and activities remain relevant and helpful. Read More


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