Purpose of Conference:
- To give siblings of children and adults with disabilities an opportunity to exchange information regarding their experiences and to learn more about specific disabilities, trends and current research findings about these disabilities.
- To give people with disabilities an opportunity to share their feelings about being an integral part of their family and their interaction with their siblings and parents.
- To give professionals an opportunity to hear experts in the field of family dynamics and experience workshops presented by siblings.
- To give parents an opportunity to focus on their children who are not disabled.
- To give partners of adults with disabilities an opportunity to focus on the impact the disability has had upon their relationships.
AN INVITATION LETTER FROM A SIBLING:
My name is Melissa Wright and I have a sister with severe cerebral palsy.
It is with great pleasure that I extend an invitation to you to the International Sibling Conference. The International Sibling Conference is the perfect opportunity for you to get your questions answered and engage in meaningful conversation with people similar to yourself. This conference serves many purposes: to give professionals an opportunity to hear experts in the field of family dynamics and experience workshops put on by siblings; to give parents an opportunity to focus on their child/children who are not disabled; to give partners of adults with disabilities an opportunity to focus on the impact that the disability has had on their relationships. As a sibling of an individual with a disability I think that all siblings would benefit immensely from attending this conference.
I am 22 years old and my sister, Zara, is 30. Zaraand I come from a family of 3 children and I am the youngest, while Zara is the oldest. We grew up in a loving family with all the support we needed to go far in life. Zara lived at home until she was 25. At 25 Zara moved into a group home with other individuals with disabilities. She still sees my family every Friday night for dinner and every Sunday. Zara has impacted my life in so many ways and has even inspired me to become a special education teacher.
Growing up, I always had numerous questions about my sister and her disability and no outlet to express my questions and concerns. Siblings of individuals with disabilities often have many common concerns and no one to share them with. As Zara is growing older, so are my parents. I often ask myself what will happen when my parents are too old to take care of Zara. What role do I and my brother Jeffrey play in Zaras future? In 2001, at the 1st Annual Ohio SIBS conference, Tim Fish, a social worker, observed that after the parents of a family passed away the siblings were often at a loss as to how to support their sibling with a disability. As Zara’s sister I can really relate to this observation. The love from the siblings is always there but the realistic and concrete tools to face the reality are nowhere to be found.
The conference begins Friday evening, August 6th, with a wine and cheese reception hosted by Hyatt Regency Hotel from 7:30 – 8:30 and ends August 8th with closing ceremonies at 11:45am.
I hope that you can join us!