What we do
Our relationship with our sibling (or siblings) is our longest-lived relationship and often our strongest human-to-human connection. We are companions for life. The relationship becomes even more fundamental when our sibling has vulnerabilities and is marginalized, as is the case for many people with an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD).
Siblings need to be considered in both the present and future to ensure the long-term well-being of people with IDDs. We must nurture and support the sibling relationship as it evolves and changes over time.
The Sibling Collaborative is uniting siblings to support disability differently. We support siblings using a strength-based approach to think differently, live differently and feel differently about our relationship with our sibling, our family and disability. By strengthening siblings, we strengthen families.
“If we want to ensure the long-term well-being of people with developmental disabilities, we need to invest in their brothers and sisters”
– Don Meyer, the Sibling Project
How we do it
The Sibling Collaborative unites siblings so that you feel understood, you feel accepted and you feel a sense of connection. We also understand the family experience and we will help you to strengthen your family by helping you to think, live and feel differently to create the life you want for yourself and your family. We offer resources to connect you to other siblings, to inspire you and teach you through our stories and workshops that there is a great future available for you and your family.
The Sibling Collaborative has developed the C.A.R.E. model (™), a strengths-based approach to empower siblings to improve family well-being.
We also partner with families, organizations, governments and foundations to inspire, teach and empower them to support siblings and strengthen families.
To guide our work, we have developed a core set of values:
Realizing Change with Compassion: We take action with the critical input and consideration of our siblings with an IDD and our families.
Mutual Respect: We give people agency over their own lives, with consideration for all those involved.
Collective Solutions: We find a way forward by learning, working and co-creating together.
Unlocking Potential: We hold a big and bold vision for our siblings, ourselves as well as our families. Our intrinsic creativity and resourcefulness know no limits.
The Sibling Collaborative believes that individuals supporting a sibling with an IDD can, over their lifetime, experience significant stress in their roles. This stress is compounded by a lack of helpful tools, resources and information to guide, inform and support them.
To test this and other related assumptions, we launched the Sibling Needs Assessment Survey in the fall of 2017.
We heard from over 360 siblings from across Canada.
Read about what they had to say:
Eric partners with people with a disability to create incredible ordinary lives. Eric is a professional family and leadership coach, and host of the Empowering Ability Podcast on IDD. Eric is the brother of a person with a developmental disability. https://www.empoweringability.org
Helen’s work focuses on significant, positive change that addresses pressing social challenges through smart social policy, effective programs, bold visions and caring communities. Helen is an independent program evaluation consultant and community activist. Helen is the sister of a person with a developmental disability.www.helenries.ca
As an independent consultant, Becky is passionate about strengthening the effectiveness, sustainability and impact of organizations that are collaboratively creating positive social and environmental change. She is the sister of a person with a developmental disability.
The Sibling Collaborative would like to express special thanks to our partners. Without their support, our work would not be possible.
Dr. Yona Lunsky
Key Partner and Advisor
Director, Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Centre, Senior Scientist, Adult Neurodevelopment and Geriatric Psychiatry Division and Director, Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) Program with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health