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Sibling Support

Siblings of individuals with disabilities face unique challenges, and the sibling experience tends to change over time as siblings age. At the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, we provide support to siblings and other family members of those with disabilities in a variety of ways.

As the sibling of someone with a disability, where can I find support?

I have a child with mental health needs. What resources are available for his/her siblings?

I am responsible for caring for my adult brother/sister with traumatic brain injury. Where can I find support?

I work with families of people with disabilities. Where can I learn more about the impact of disability on family members?

Siblings of individuals with disabilities face unique challenges, and the sibling experience tends to change over time as siblings age. Young siblings often feel confused when a brother/sister with a disability is held to a different set of expectations, and adult siblings can feel overwhelmed when they transition into caregiving roles. At the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center, we provide support to siblings and other family members of those with disabilities in a variety of ways.

The “Sibling Support Program: A Family-Centered Mental Health Initiative,” is the Shriver Center’s signature sibling support program. This clinic-based program aims to build resiliency and decrease trauma among siblings of youth with mental health needs, as well as build competency and confidence among caregivers, and build capacity among clinicians that practice family-centered mental health care. The program has been recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. An overview of the Sibling Support Program: A Family-Centered Mental Health Initiative can be found here: Download program details (pdf) For information on the impact of a child’s mental health issues on siblings, click here.

We provide sibling support for individuals and families in addition to organizations.

Individuals and families seeking sibling support can contact Emily Rubin, LCSW and Director of Sibling Support at emily.rubin@umassmed.edu. Emily also serves as the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Sibling Support Network (MSSN), a nonprofit organization that provides information and referral for siblings and other family members. Additionally, the MSSN provides technical assistance to agencies interested in developing sibling support services. For information, visit www.masiblingsupport.org.

Organizations interested in obtaining sibling support services through the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health should contact emily.rubin@umassmed.edu. Organizations can also access sibling support programming through the Massachusetts Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Technical Assistance Marketplace (MA DSRIP TA Marketplace), a one-stop shop for MassHealth Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), Community Partners (CPs), and Community Service Agencies (CSAs): https://www.ma-dsrip-ta.com/vendor/autism-insurance-resource-center/.

Research

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Sibling Support Research Program

The project explores the impact of mental illness on typically developing siblings and caregivers of children with psychiatric needs.

Education & Training

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Sibling Support Education & Training

A Family-Centered Mental Health Initiative attracts motivated mental health trainees (residents, interns, and post-docs) at partnering agencies that are interested in sibling support.

Service

Services for Sibling Support

We strive to support all members of the family in order to maximize the impact on siblings. We provide sibling support to individuals and families as well as disability-oriented organizations.

Sibling Support Team

The Sibling Support team provide sibling support for individuals and families in addition to organizations.