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Kids with special needs siblings find outlet to talk

By Matt Montgomery

Piedmont Elementary Counselor Cathy Adams and third grade teacher Kim Nichols said the Sibshops program that they are trained in will help those students who have siblings with special needs, by giving them an outlet and a place to talk to other people in their situation.

The teachers said they will hold their first meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Piedmont United Methodist Church.

Piedmont parent Sherri Kimber said she heard about the program from another parent with a special needs child. She said she saw it as a neat opportunity to provide a service to the siblings of special needs children, because a lot of time is spent providing the services to the special needs children often times neglecting attention to the other sibling.

“This is just something different that another parent and I saw for those siblings, because there are not a lot of programs out there to help them with what they’re going through,” Kimber said. “This gives them an opportunity to be around other children who live in the same kind of situation and they know what it’s like growing up with a sibling who has issues that they are dealing with and this gives them an outlet being around people who know exactly what they are dealing with.”

Kimber said often times their friends might not understand the situation and they may not know what it’s like, so Sibshops is a constructive environment for those siblings to come and talk about what they are going through and talk to other kids about it.

The teachers said the program started last year, but this year they expect the program to really take off and at Sibshops, they’ll have a chance to meet other siblings whose brothers and sisters have special needs and talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sibling with a disability.

Additional meeting dates are Nov, 13 and Feb. 12 and March 12, 2013.

Adams and Nichols said, that In addition to receiving peer support, Sibshop participants will play games, learn about their siblings’ disabilities and the services they receive, participate in cooking and craft activities, and make new friends.

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