The Bottom Line
By Don Meyer and Patricia Vadasy; 240 pages. Subtitle: Workshops for Siblings of Children With Special Needs
Though its primary purpose is to help agencies organize Sibshops -- workshops for siblings of children with special needs -- this upbeat, accessible resource has plenty to offer parents, too. You'll learn what brothers and sisters have to say about their role in special-needs families, and get some good advice on providing the information and independence your typically developing child needs. And also, maybe, inspiration to get an agency near you to put one of these things on.
- Accessible writing style and upbeat tone make it a pleasure to read
- Quotes from young siblings poignantly illustrate the issues they face
- Offers concrete ways to inform and include your typically developing child
- Cautions against common parental behavior that's hurtful to siblings
- Packed with great games and activities you can apply to any gathering
- Much of the material is designed for agencies who will be putting on Sibshops
- Some of the quotes from siblings may be hard for parents to hear
- Likewise, the recommendations may make you feel guilty if you've been doing otherwise
- After reading about these neat get-togethers, you may be let-down if there's not one nearby
- Chapter 1: What Are Sibshops?
Chapter 2: Unusual Concerns
- Chapter 3: Information Needs of Siblings
Chapter 4: Unusual Opportunities
- Chapter 5: Getting Started
Chapter 6: Putting It All Together
- Chapter 7: Introductory and Trickle-In Activities
Chapter 8: Sibshop Discussion and Peer Support Activities
- Chapter 9: Sibshop Recreational and Food Activities
Chapter 10: Information Activities, Guest Speakers, and Special Events
- Chapter 11: Workshops on Sibling Issues for Parents and Service Providers
- Appendix A: The Sibshop Standards of Practice
Appendix B: Books for Young Readers on Sibling and Disability Issues
- Appendix C: A Brief Description of the Sibshop Model
- Appendix D: What Siblings Would Like Parents and Service Providers to Know
- Appendix E: Sample Sibshop Registration Form
Appendix F: Dear Aunt Blabby Letters
Guide Review - Book Review: Sibshops
"Throughout, we have tried to write this book in a style that is accessible and even enjoyable to read. We know that most people who wish to create support and programs for brothers and sisters are not academicians. We also know that most readers, even academicians, seem to enjoy and learn more from books that don't appear to be designed to induce sleep."
Oh! If only more authors had this philosophy, how much easier my job would be!
Those words, taken from the preface of this revised edition, set the tone for a thoroughly amiable work that sets out to both provide a primer for setting up Sibshops for siblings of children with special needs, and give parents and others who work with those siblings a greater understanding of their special issues and concerns.
The first four chapters will be of the most immediate interest to parents. Short quotes from siblings, expressing their fear and anger and pride and love, are interspersed with paragraphs that gather information from a variety of books by and about siblings. The information here may be an eye-opener if you've made assumptions about how your typically developing child is thinking and doing and feeling. Often, parents get so caught up in helping a disabled child that they take the healthy child's development for granted. These chapters serve as a reminder -- possibly a guilty one -- that we're needed by all our children.
Fortunately, the book gives plenty of ideas on how to make things right, whether your child can attend a Sibshop or not. Past those first chapters, the book gets into great detail on what a Sibshop is, who organizes them, and how they should be organized -- from a detailed itinerary to instructions for activities both thoughtful and silly. Even if you're not going to organize an event, these games might provide a great way to play as a family.