The Edmond Sun

October 1, 2013

Sibshops offers time for siblings of special needs children to share

Patty Miller
Special to The Sun

EDMOND — The Edmond Sibshop is looking for children ages 6-13 to join the fall Sibshops events from 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 5 and Nov. 2 at the Edmond Public Schools Special Services Building, 53 E. 12th St.

“Sibshops are workshops/events that are for school-aged children that have a brother or sister with a disability or special health care need,” said Robyn Boswell, Sibshop State Coordinator. “Sibshops believe that all family members are affected when you have a child in the family with a special need, and so we are celebrating the typical children that are helping and caring for their brother or sister with special needs.”  

The events will be filled with fun and lively, pedal-to-the-metal games, discussion activities, crafts, snacks and more games, Boswell added.

“Trained facilitators and volunteers run the events and they enjoy the events as much as the siblings that attend,” Boswell said.

Edmond volunteers are LaShelle Stanley and Cindy Gould.

Gould has four children, three daughters who have a younger brother with Down syndrome. All three girls started with the original Sibshops a few years ago at Children’s Hospital on the campus of the OU Health Sciences Center.

Much like the parents of a child with special needs who seek out other adults experiencing like challenges, Gould said the children have the opportunity to network with children experiencing like opportunities.

“Although the games are not meant to be strictly therapeutic, therapy comes out of participation,” Gould said. “Sometimes children interact and sometimes just listen.”

Edmond facilitators take their Sibshops one step further and invite siblings who live with a brother or sister with any kind of a disability including severe allergies, ADHD or ADD, Asperger’s or any kind of a special health care situation.

Edmond’s Sibshops is co-sponsored by Edmond Public Schools, Oklahoma Developmental Disability Council and Sooner SUCCESS.

There is a small cost for the children attending and scholarship opportunities are available, Gould said, as well as a cost break for more than one sibling in attendance.  

Visit siblingsupportproject.org for more details on the Sibshops concept. For information about Oklahoma Sibshops visit soonersuccess.ouhsc.edu/sibshops.asp.