Involving Siblings in the Transition Process for Young Adults with Autism and Other Disabilities

March 13, 2012 Sarah Hall, Ph.D., Ashland University Tom Fish, Ph.D., Ohio State University

www.siblingleadership.org
Mission: To provide siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support, and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families.

Background
 Founded in 2007, the SLN has held annual

conferences to connect siblings and professionals
 Developed a policy white paper with

recommendations on policy and advocacy, research, and services and supports

Partnership
 Key partnerships include:
   

Sibling Support Project Self Advocates Becoming Empowered The Arc AutismNOW, a national initiative of The Arc

State Chapters
 Alabama

 DC
 Georgia  Illinois

 Massachusetts
 New Hampshire

• • • • • •

New York Ohio Oklahoma Tennessee Utah Wisconsin

For more information on how to start a state chapter of the SLN, contact Ashley Coulter at ashley.coulter@Vanderbilt.edu.

Join the SLN
 Visit www.siblingleadership.org  Find us on Facebook at

http://www.facebook.com/siblingleadership

 Email info@siblingleadership.org

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Ohio SIBS
 Ohio SIBS (Special Initiatives for Brothers

and Sisters) is a program designed to empower adult siblings of people with developmental disabilities by supplying information about services, supports, resources, and quality outcomes.
 Ohio SIBS provides education and training in

public advocacy and offers emotional support and wellness opportunities.

Ohio SIBS
 Tom Fish organized the first conference in

2001 for siblings across the state.  Ohio SIBS became a nonprofit organization in 2011.  Diverse board of 15 members from across the state  In process of hiring an executive director  Holds regional information sessions

A group of sibling advocates meet with U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was also a sibling.

Ohio SIBS Conference
 The purpose of the Ohio Adult Sibling Conference is

to create an environment where adult siblings can gather together to share family experiences, develop new relationships, obtain relevant information, and be recognized as an integral part of the family’s success.
 Attendees have heard presentations from state and

national IDD professionals, educators, and politicians. Attendees also enjoy meeting other adult siblings and exploring topical areas of interest.

Importance of Siblings
 Longest life relationship  Often have unique insights and

perspectives
 Able to provide a continuum of support

and information

Importance of Transition for Individuals with Disabilities
 A time of significant change from high school

to adult life
 Students prepare for
   

Employment Education/ training Community Living Social Activities

 Time for community and family support

Important Roles Siblings Can and Often Do Play
 Caretaker/ caregiver
 Advocate  Teacher  Role Model  Behaviorist  Translator  Friend/ companion

Things Parents and Professionals Can Do to Support Siblings
        

Listen Ask questions Ask open ended questions Be open to any response or feeling Don’t make assumptions Connect to other siblings Realize things might change Involve them in planning Keep them informed and updated

Sibs Looking Forward: A Retreat about Transition
 The sibling retreat is a weekend where

students with autism and other disabilities and their siblings will explore transition topics and enjoy recreation and leisure activities together.  The retreat will help promote awareness, understanding, and dialogue about transition and develop self-awareness and confidence for students and their siblings.

Sibs Looking Forward: A Retreat about Transition
 15 pairs of siblings  Students with disabilities from age 16-22  Siblings from age 15-25  Counselors will be Ohio SIBS members  Overnight camp from Friday to Sunday  Pre/post evaluation measures  Monthly engagement after the retreat  Opportunity for ongoing mentorship

Sibs Looking Forward: A Retreat about Transition
Retreat Goals:
 To gain knowledge about transition, options

for the future, and supports available.
 Participants will know how to advocate for

themselves and others.
 Participants will explore their current and

potential roles of advocate, support, and friend to their brother or sister.

Sibs Looking Forward: A Retreat about Transition
Retreat Activities:  Group discussions  Teambuilding challenges  Advocacy practice  Sharing thoughts and experiences  Sibling bonding time  Campfires and outdoor fun!

Contact Information
 Sarah Hall Ph.D., Ashland University

sahall@ashland.edu

 Tom Fish Ph.D., Ohio State University

thomas.fish@osumc.edu, 614-685-8723

 Ohio SIBS

www.ohiosibs.com