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On Starting a Sibshop

Sibshops: Workshops for siblings of children with special needs

By Don Meyer and Patricia Vadasy

When it comes to organizing workshops for siblings of children with special health and developmental needs, Sibshops is just what communities need. The enormously popular Sibshop model has been used in more than 450 communities in eight countries, and the long-awaited revision of this exemplary guide makes it easier than ever to create and run successful, cost-effective sibling support group programs.

Sibshop programs provide opportunities for brothers and sisters of children with special needs to obtain peer support and education within a highly recreational context. Organizers and families appreciate that the workshops take a wellness approach, and the siblings who attend the workshops appreciate that they're fun and engaging. Highly practical and user-friendly, Sibshops is filled with straightforward instructions, photocopiable forms, more than 100 fun games and activities, and sage guidance on how to start, fund, and run a Sibshop.

Essential for agencies that serve families of children with disabilities, social workers, parent-to-parent programs, early intervention programs, developmental disability councils, child life specialists, and parents, this guidebook offers an inexpensive and easy-to-implement solution to addressing siblings' needs in a way everyone can enjoy.

Order Sibshops: Workshops for siblings of children with special needs


Praise for Sibshops: Workshops for siblings of children with special needs:

“Don Meyer has been the leading voice in our profession in recognizing the special needs of brothers and sisters who have siblings with disabilities. His work with siblings has received international acclaim as being straightforward, fun, and effective with siblings of all ages. For the past two decades, Sibshops has been used extensively as the premier guide for professionals designing and implementing interactive workshops to help siblings confront the special issues they face. Now he and Dr. Pat Vadasy have revised this fundamental text to include new activities aimed at a new generation of brothers and sisters. This new edition is a must for professionals who aim to assist the whole family as they deal with the complexity of disability.  Anything that Don Meyer does is done with style and unique insight. This new edition will be a tremendous resource for the profession.”
Thomas H. Powell, Ed.D.
Mount St. Mary’s University

“A most valuable book! Parents, prepare to gain insights that will help you forever. Facilitators, learn not just the hows of running Sibshops, but also the whys. And typical sibs, get ready for the camaraderie you’ve always craved but never thought you’d find.”
Rachel Simon
Author, Riding the Bus with My Sister

“This book convinced us of one thing: Every agency working with families with disability should be running Sibshops. Are they hard to run? Not if you’ve got a copy of Sibshops. Don Meyer and Patricia Vadasy have been there and back—and they’ve worked out the logistics and invented terrific programming that you can tailor to fit your audience. Run a Sibshop. Make a difference.”
Paul and Judy Karasik
Authors, The Ride Together: A Brother and Sister’s Memoir of Autism in the Family

“I use Sibshops constantly. It is the resource for sibling support. It is a professional resource with reliability, and I refer to it for every workshop.”
Christina Rogers
Strong Families Manager
Riley Hospital for Children
Indiana University School of Medicine

“Essential reading for anyone thinking of starting a Sibshop for the brothers and sisters of children with special needs . . . The authors have not left out anything that would be useful in starting one of these highly effective play and discussion groups. Written in a lively, informal, easy-to-understand way, this book is excellent.”
Mary McHugh
Author, Special Siblings: Growing up with Someone with a Disability

“I gratefully acknowledge and thank Don Meyer for identifying the importance of meeting the needs of some very significant family members. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as one of the facilitators of our sibling support group and eagerly anticipate the next evening that will be spent with this great group of children.”
Jane Wysman
Respite Supports Manager
Sibshops Facilitator

“Despite the fact that I will be advocating for my adult son until the day I die, I am increasingly aware that he and his sisters will most likely have the longest family relationship. They deserve to have their needs met for their own sakes, as well as for the sake of family relationships over time. One of the greatest gifts I can give my son is to raise his sisters in a way that they will feel unconditional love for him. I highly recommend this book as a valued resource to enhance sibling quality of life and overall family quality of life—now and for the future.”
Ann Turnbull, Ed.D.
Co-Director, Beach Center on Disability
Ross and Marianna Beach Distinguished Professor
University of Kansas

 “Sibshops are an innovative strategy for supporting families that has stood the test of time. This newly revised volume provides clear, practical guidelines for implementing Sibshops in a way that is likely to meet the needs of siblings of children with disabilities and their families.”
Ann P. Kaiser, Ph.D.
Susan W. Gray Professor of Education and Human Development
Department of Special Education
Vanderbilt University

Join Us At One of Our Workshops or Training Events
The only way to become a first-generation Sibshop facilitator is to attend a two-day Sibshop training.

Even if you don't want to  become a Sibshop facilitator, you can join us for the first day for a lively and rewarding discussion of sibs' issues across the lifespan. 

Please know:
Registration costs are determined by the agencies hosting the workshops and trainings.  For information and to register, please contact these agencies directly. 

Below you'll find dates for upcoming Sibshop facilitator trainings and other sibling workshops.  If you'd like to discuss hosting a training in your community, please drop us a line at