Have You Heard About Sibshop at the Boston Ability Center?

By: Stephanie Godbout, MS CCC-SLP and Elvira Fulchino, MS OTR/L, MSW, LICSW (Sibshop Coordinators)

The Boston Ability Center held a six week Sibshop from October 14- November 18, 2017 for siblings of children with special needs. Each Saturday for 1.5 hours we had seven boys and girls, ranging in ages from six to 10 years old, participating in a variety of fun group activities. Sibshops were created by Don Meyer, Director of the Sibling Support Project. He describes Sibshops as “lively, pedal-to-the metal celebrations of the many contributions made by brothers or sisters of kids with special needs.”

The Sibshops were facilitated by two clinicians from the Boston Ability Center and one or two volunteers from the community who are adult siblings themselves. These adult volunteers added an important dimension to our groups as they provided role models for the Sibshop participants and contributed to discussions regarding life with a sibling with special needs.

Our Sibshop groups covered serious topics through fun activities that facilitated the siblings’ ability to articulate their feelings and express their thoughts about the complex relationship with a sibling who has special needs. Over the six weeks the children became more comfortable sharing their perspectives and formed supportive relationships with one another.

Feedback from the children and their parents was very positive. One parent shared that Sibshop was the only place where her son was not worried about anyone else, stating that “It’s just for him.” These are powerful words to describe what the Sibshops’ mission is.

We are looking forward to a reunion in the winter with our Fall group and are planning a Sibshop for children ages 3-5 years in the early Spring.

This has been a powerful experience for us as a staff and we look forward to continuing to provide this service to all families.

 

Reference:

Meyer, Don, M.Ed. and Vadasy, Patricia, Ph.D. Sibshops Workshops for Siblings of Children with Special Needs, 2009, Paul H Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, Maryland.

SibShop: October

At the BAC October SibShop we had so much fun making new friends and talking about our past experiences together. Today we started the class by decorating large puzzle pieces with crayons, dot markers, and stickers. We worked together as a team to complete the puzzle which spelled “PROUD”. Following completing the puzzle, we talked about what makes us proud and why we are proud of our siblings.

We also made cool time capsules! Inside of the time capsule was a discussion prompt. The kids had some really great things to share in response to the prompt!

 

In the large motor room, we had mummy relay races with toilet paper! The kids had a blast and even got to wrap one of the clinicians, Courtney!

Mummy Races

SibShop: Valentine’s Day Edition

Two weeks ago, we held another Sibshop at the Boston Ability Center. We had so much fun talking about our family and making valentines for the ones we love.

We made Valentine’s Day Punch – Each child had the opportunity to add one ingredient and say one thing they love about their parent/sibling when they added their special ingredient to the bowl. The punch was delicious and it was so much sharing our favorite things about our loved ones.

For snack we made sugar cookies (yummy!) The children decorated one for themselves and one for sibling/parent

We had so much fun playing Valentine’s Day themed games. Here are some of the games we played.

Heart Relay – Two cups full of conversation hearts and two empty cups a few feet away.  Teams had one minute to move as many hearts from the full cup to the empty cup using a spoon.

Straw Transfer – We moved Conversation Hearts from one plate to the another using only a straw. We set the timer for 1 minute and were excited to find out how many we could transfer within the time limit!