Sibshop Update

A rare opportunity to train and learn how to facilitate Sibshops came to Clermont County through Clermont FAST TRAC, a system of care initiative of the Clermont County Mental Health & Recovery Board, funded by a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This two day training was held on February 22-23, 2013 at Child Focus in Eastgate.

Sibshops acknowledge that being the brother or sister of a person with special needs, including mental health needs, is for some a good thing, others a not-so-good thing, and for many, somewhere in-between. They reflect a belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another — if they are given a chance. Sibshops are a spirited mix of new games (designed to be unique, off-beat, and appealing to a wide ability range), new friends, and discussion activities. They give the “typical” sibs an opportunity to work through issues they may have regarding his/her family member with a disability.

Don Meyer, creator and Director of the Sibling Support Project in Seattle, Washington, provided the two-day Facilitator training through our Clermont FAST TRAC System of Care. Don is a sought after trainer and is involved with many projects, including the “Supporting Extended Family Members” program at the University of Washington. It was an honor to welcome him to Clermont County!

Some 35 people, including local participants, participants from other states, as well as, a wonderful young lady from Japan romped and played with a group of 15 youth who shared their insight and were always ready to play a game. Additionally, a panel of 7 adult sibs discussed their unique concerns and talked about what parents and service providers can do to address sibling issues. Participants heard poignant stories, shared laughs, met courageous sibs, and received some practical advice.

Those who received this training learned the skills to provide workshops for the siblings of children with disabilities and are now “sanctioned” group leaders who can register their workshops through the Sibling Project. A curriculum is available to assist leaders in providing workshops for sibs.

Trainees from Clermont County included 2 staff from Child Focus, 3 parents, one Peer Support Partner, and the Lead Family Contact. The first planning meeting for implementing Sibshops in Clermont County was already held. The goal is to have the first Sibshops opportunity in August 2013. Currently, the planning group is looking at locations to hold the Sibshops, which will meet at least quarterly and be available for youth 7-11 years old. Specific information and registration forms will be available in July 2013. To learn more about the Sibling program: