Disability Is Natural Books and Media

Sibshops: A Sensible Solution?

 DISABILITY IS NATURAL!

New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense

A child can never be better than what his parents think of him. Marcelene Cox

​​​Sibshops have been described as peer support groups for the brothers and sisters of children with developmental disabilities and “special health care needs.” Literature from web sites on the topic reveals a variety of philosophies about the reasons for and perceived benefits of sibshops:

  • They can provide help to children who may feel guilt, anger, fear, jealousy, isolation, and/or other negative emotions brought on by having a brother/sister with a disability.
  • Opportunities for peer support and education are provided within fun activities.
  • “Therapeutic” benefits for children may include sharing the “ups and downs” and “embarrassment” when one’s brother/sister has a disability.
  • School psychologists, social workers, and other professionals should be involved in the lives of children to help them deal with the “problems” of having a brother/sister with a disability.


Well, all of this bothers me. Before going further, please understand that my criticism of sibshops is not a criticism of people who run sibshops, but of the concept, itself. Those involved in sibshops are, no doubt, very caring people. Like many other practices in Disability World, however, this is a concept brimming with the best of intentions, but which may have less than desirable outcomes.​ Click here to continue.