How the Church Ministry Can Help Siblings of Special-Needs Kids
Would you like to minister to the siblings of a special-needs family but don’t know where to start? The Internet has plenty of great resources for help in researching and shaping an outreach ministry at your church that’s tailored to their needs. Here are a few:
Sibling Support in the United States
Sibshops is the most significant organization for supporting special-needs siblings. This international sibling support organization desires to increase the number of programs and helps to special-needs siblings, to make others aware of sibling needs and to provide specific information for local programs and parent groups. This is an invaluable resource for church ministries. Find it online at www.siblingsupport.org
Disability Scoop was developed by professional journalists who saw the need for a central, reliable source of information within the special-needs community. And as the sister of an adult with autism, Michelle Diament, cofounder of Disability Scoop, knows firsthand the issues that families, caregivers, and people with disabilities face every day. At Disability Scoop, www.disabilityscoop.com, you will find articles gathered from across the Web as well as original content.
Across the United States, chapters of The Arc work tirelessly on behalf of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Committed to families’ concerns, The Arc can provide you with support and information on how to help siblings of special-needs children lead a dignified life. The Arc can also connect you with excellent programs such as Sibling Support network, SibNet, Sibling Support Project, and the Sibshops group. Connect with these at www.thearc.org/siblingsupport
New Horizon Kids Quest is another fantastic organization designed to help siblings and families. Located at New Horizon Kids Quest, 16355 36th Avenue North, Suite #700, Plymouth, Minnesota 55446 1-800-941-1007 or 763-557-1111, they offer programming, personal training, legal expertise, and much more.
Family Village is an international community directed as a Disability-Related Resource, this organization offers a comprehensive Web site (www.familyvillage.wisc.edu) that “integrates information, resources, and communication opportunities on the Internet for persons with cognitive and other disabilities, for their families, and for those that provide them services and support.”
The Sibling Connection targets siblings who have experienced the death of a brother or sister. Find them online at www.counselingstlouis.net
Band-Aides and Blackboards offers empathy and advice for kids who have medical problems—and for their siblings. Visit www.lehman.cuny.edu/faculty/jfleitas/bandaides
Sibling Support Efforts outside the United States
- Sibsupport.nz—New Zealand
- Siblings Australia, Inc. (www.siblingsaustralia.org.au)
- Sibs—United Kingdom (www.sibs.org.uk)
- Yasuko Arima’s Web page about sibling support in Japan
- Italian Sibling Group (www.siblings.it)