Supporting Parents. Fostering Change.

“I have needs, too!”

In Step hosted a “Siblings of Special Needs Kids” workshop led by Melanie Kaplan, LCSW, this weekend at our Sterling office. It was a huge success and I asked Melanie to talk a bit about what the kids discussed and to put a date on the calendar for another session.

“The workshop was a great! The kids were all very open and happy to talk to each other about shared experiences. I heard a plethora of “I can relate to that”s, “Oh yeah, me too!”s, and “that definitely happens to me”s. The discussion was so lively and helpful that I hated for it to end.

We spent the majority of our time in discussion about what it’s like to live with a sibling with special needs. Topics that came up from the group included: feelings of wanting to protect your sibling, feelings of resentment, feelings of the unfairness of family time/resources spent on the sibling, embarrassment in public situations, and feelings of anger about mistreatment/misbehavior from the sibling. All of these feelings are natural, normal, and expected from siblings of kids with special needs. This was a wonderful opportunity for them to vent, feel heard, and know that other kids are experiencing the same things.

We also spent some time discussing how they can all de-stress and care for themselves when things are particularly hard with their siblings. Each participant came up with a Self Care Plan for things they could do to care for themselves. They also each left with a master list of de-stressing activities from other group participants. The kids expressed a desire to meet up again and this time talk about communication within their families and how to express what they need. I am hopeful we can add new kids to the group to expand on the idea that other families have similar struggles.”

If you would like to sign up for our next workshop, here is the registration information.

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