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Supporting Siblings of Explosive Children

Welcome to Sibling Support at the Institute for Community Inclusion

Originally published: 12/2009

This page is a summary. Please download the PDF for the full content.


the cover image, a somber boy in a knit hatSiblings of people with all types of disabilities face unique concerns across the lifespan. Without adequate information and support, young siblings often grow up resenting the attention given to their brother or sister with disabilities; as they age, adult siblings often feel overwhelmed by care-giving responsibilities that were previously managed by parents. We believe that an early and solid foundation of support for siblings helps them develop into well-adjusted adults who can advocate effectively, alongside their brothers and sisters with disabilities, well into the future.


Sibling support services range in scope from therapeutic discussion groups to practical guidance on financial planning. Younger siblings benefit from recreational support groups where they have an opportunity to play with children who share the common experience of growing up with a brother or sister with disabilities. Adult siblings benefit from the emotional support of their peers as well, and also appreciate professional workshops on future planning as they navigate complex systems of healthcare, housing, employment and state benefits for their adult brothers and sisters with disabilities.


Recently, a group of sibling providers and adult siblings within Massachusetts joined forces to create the Massachusetts Sibling Exploratory Committee. We are committed to developing a network of sibling providers as well as a comprehensive array of services for siblings of people with all types of disabilities. We welcome those who are interested in sibling issues to join us. Please contact Emily Rubin, 2009 Gopen Fellow, at emily_rubin@hotmail.com for more information.


The Institute for Community Inclusion is pleased to announce the publication of the brochure SUPPORTING SIBLINGS OF EXPLOSIVE CHILDREN. This publication was funded by the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Network and is geared toward parents of explosive children and their typically-developing siblings. Click here to download the brochure. We encourage you to share this resource with others who might benefit from it.

picture of girl drawing on sidewalk with chalk


Sibling Support Project www.siblingsupport.org

The Sibling Support Project offers support and information for siblings of people with special health, developmental, or mental health concerns, including support groups for children and an online community for adults.

Sibling Leadership Network www.sibleadership.blogspot.com

SLN provides policy recommendations, tools, information and support to help siblings advocate alongside their brothers and sisters with disabilities.

National Mental Health Services Knowledge Exchange Network www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/child/childhealth.asp

Geared to children, adolescents and adults struggling with mental health issues, this website provides fact sheets, resources and programs.


Federation for Children with Special Needs 1135 Tremont Street, Suite 420
Boston, MA 02120
(617) 236-7210, (800) 331-0688 (in MA)


Thicker than Water: Essays by Adult Siblings of People with Disabilities by Don Meyer (Editor)

Views From Our Shoes: Growing up with a Brother or Sister with Special Needs by Don Meyer (Editor)

Siblings: Brothers and Sisters of Children with Special Needs by Kate Strohm

What About Me? Growing Up with a Developmentally Disabled Sibling by Bryna Siegel and Stuart Silverstein

Turbo Max: A Story for Siblings of Bipolar Children by Tracy Anglada

Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

two young children walk hand in hand