Connect

Connecting with other brothers and sisters can be enormously validating and rewarding.

Connecting with other brothers and sisters in person can be a wonderful experience but it is not always practical. There might not be a “live” group nearby.  And if there is one, the times when they’re offered might not work with your busy schedule.

Our online groups allow members to get helpful support and information at all hours of the day.  And members may find that they have more in common with a sibling in a different time zone than they would have with someone in their own community.

Since 1996, we’ve offered online groups for siblings of all ages.  During that time, our groups have helped thousands of brothers and sisters get the support and information they deserve.

A Brief History of SibNet:

SibNet is the Internet’s first and largest online community for adult brothers and sisters of people with disabilities.  Created in 1996 as a listserv, SibNet became an email-based Yahoogroup in 1998 and still exists in this format.

In 2009, SibNet was also offered as a Facebook group. And in 2012, the Sibling Leadership Network became a co-sponsor of SibNet to provide members information about advocacy efforts and legislation.

Don Meyer, director of the Sibling Support Project, is the founder and lead administrator of SibNet and is greatly assisted by adult siblings who serve as volunteer hosts.

Since 1996, SibNet has connected tens of thousands of sisters and brothers from around the globe with their peers, providing members with validation, information, and advice.

SibNet is a remarkably thoughtful, nonjudgmental community of adult sisters and brothers of people who have disabilities. On SibNet, we share:

  • Concerns and challenges–but we also share insights and joys that only other sibs are likely to understand; and
  • Information about services, resources, and strategies that help members advocate for their brothers and sisters, themselves, and their families.

Like the greater sibling community, SibNet has a diverse membership: We come from all economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds.  We have sibs who have autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, fragile X, and other disabilities.

Some of us think that having a sib with a disability has enriched our lives, while others find having a sib with a disability a source of stress and even pain.  And for many more, it has been a mixed bag, with “good stuff” and “not-so-good stuff” occurring simultaneously.  All of these experiences are valid and all views are welcome on SibNet.

SibNet is a “closed” group. Only adult siblings of people with special needs may be members.

The Facebook SibNet group is the most active version of SibNet, but SibNet continues to be offered as a Yahoogroup.  You are welcome to join either—or both!

To join SibNet on Facebook, click here  (As a closed Facebook group, your Facebook friends can’t see what you’ve posted on SibNet unless they are also members of SibNet.)  To subscribe to the SibNet on Yahoogroups, click here

SibTeen is Facebook group where teenage sibs of people with disabilities can connect with others who get it. It’s a fun and thoughtful group where members share unique concerns, joys, frustrations, and information with others who truly understand!

Like SibNet and Sib20, SibTeen is a “closed” Facebook group.  This means that others can see that you belong to SibTeen, but they can’t see what you’ve posted.  Only other SibTeen members can see what you’ve posted to SibTeen. Click here to go to the SibTeen Facebook page.  Once you’re there, click the button that says “Join Group.”

A note to parents, service providers and other adults wishing to join SibTeen: We totally understand why a parent, Sibshop facilitator, or other adult might want to join SibTeen.  However, we have promised our young members a private place where they could connect with others who “get it.”  Please know that we read each message posted to the SibTeen Facebook group.  While no place on the Internet is without any risk, we have a number of measures in place to assure that SibTeen is as safe, friendly, and insightful as possible.  If you’d like to discuss these measures, please feel free to .

SibTeen is co-hosted by the Sibling Support Project and Siblings Australia.

Sib20 is a Facebook group where twenty-something sibs of people with disabilities connect with others who “get it.” It’s sibling support from a young adult perspective.

Sib20 is also a community—a remarkably thoughtful, nonjudgmental community of sisters and brothers who share concerns, challenges, insights, and joys that only other sibs are likely to understand. And members share information about services, resources, and strategies that help other members advocate for their brothers and sisters, themselves, and their families.

Like the greater sibling community, Sib20 has a diverse membership. Members come from all economic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Some have sibs who have autism, intellectual disabilities, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, spina bifida, fragile X, and other disabilities. Some think that having a sib with a disability has enriched their lives. Others find having a sib with a disability has been a source of distress. And for many more, it has been a mixed bag. All of these experiences are valid and all views are welcome on Sib20.

Join Sib20!

Frequently Asked Questions about Sib20:

Who hosts Sib20? Sib20 is co-hosted by the Sibling Support Project and moderated by Don Meyer of the Sibling Support Project.

Must I be in my twenties to belong to Sib20? Sib20 is intended for sibs in their twenties—more or less. If you are a sib 18 to 30, Sib20 is for you!

I belong to SibNet, the Facebook group for adult sibs. May I also belong to Sib20? Sibs in their early thirties or younger may belong to Sib20—and are welcome to belong to SibNet as well.

I belong to SibTeen, the Facebook group for teen sibs. May I also belong to Sib20? If you are 18 or 19, you may belong to Sib20—and you are welcome to belong to SibTeen as well.

Can my friends and family see what I post on Sib20? Sib20 is a closed group. This means that others can see that you belong to Sib20, but only Sib20 members can see what you’ve posted to Sib20.

 Join Sib20!

Connecting With Sibs in Your State

Online groups can be a great way to connect with other sibs, but there is no substitute for sitting down and chatting with someone who is likely to understand your life.  Young sibs have opportunities to connect at Sibshops, but opportunities for adult siblings are less available.

Want to meet other brothers and sisters in your community?

One way is to propose a get-together on SibNet.  On many occasions, members have posted notes such as “There seem to be quite a few SibNet members from Los Angeles!  Anyone want to meet for a cup of coffee?  If this sounds interesting to you, message me and we’ll find a time and location that works for everyone!”

Another powerful way to connect with sibs in your community or state is through the state chapters of the Sibling Leadership Network.

Sibling Leadership Network

The Sibling Support Project has been a proud member of the Sibling Leadership Network for years.  Read why you should be a part of the SLN too!

 A Brief History of the Sibling Leadership Network:

Services for people with disabilities in the United States—and indeed the world—would not be the same had it not been for the leadership of five remarkable siblings: Eunice, Jack, Bobby, Jean, and Teddy Kennedy.  And less well-known brothers and sisters have provided leadership and advocacy within the disability community for a long time. Until recently, however, they have not been organized to provide leadership from a sibling perspective.

This changed in 2007 with the creation of the Sibling Leadership Network, a national organization that provides siblings of people with disabilities the information, tools, and guidance to advocate for—and with—their brothers and sisters. The Sibling Leadership Network consists of individual and state groups that come together and meet to develop yearly action plans to support family policy initiatives.

Why should you join Sibling Leadership Network?

We’re stronger together.  SLN members connect with siblings and sibling supporters nationwide.

Information is power.  All SLN members receive information and updates about activities as well as initiatives, policy decisions and sibling related events that are important to brothers and sisters.

Chapter connections.  Members get information about how to connect with or create a state or local sibling chapter of the SLN.

Siblings matter.  As our membership increases, so does SLN’s impact. The more members we have, the stronger our voice in promoting support for people with disabilities and their families.

Becoming a member of the Sibling Leadership Network costs nothing and takes a minute to join.  It’s also a great way to meet other brothers and sisters!

Connecting with sibs in your state through the Sibling Leadership Network

Currently, 18 states have chapters of the Sibling Leadership Network.  These chapters vary regarding their activities, but all of them can be excellent opportunities to connect with other adult sibs.

Below is a sample of current offerings from some state SLN chapters, but you can learn more about all of the state chapters here.

Ohio SIBS has held an annual conference since 2001, providing siblings with the opportunity to meet and share experiences, as well as education related to services, advocacy, and other timely topics. A weekend camp for sibling pairs/trios is held annually for students who are in the transition process from school to adult services and their siblings to gain information and support. Ohio SIBS partners with several other statewide advocacy and service entities to coordinate a Disability Awareness/Legislative Advocacy Day at the Statehouse. In addition, opportunities are provided for siblings to gather regionally.

WisconSibs offers programs for adult siblings in addition to Sibshops provided for younger brothers and sisters. Adult sibling events include The Siblings Choice Awards, when adult siblings acknowledge quality providers of care for people with disabilities; “Future is Now!” workshops, which provide future planning guidance for adult siblings and their families; and social events (e.g., casino nights) for adult siblings and their brothers and sisters.

TABS (Tennessee Adult Brothers and Sisters) has monthly “TABS Third Thursday” meetings in eastern, central, and western parts of the state. As the name implies, group members meet on the Third Thursday of each month at a local restaurant where information and experiences are shared and a wide variety of topics are discussed. According to the organizers, the events are very informal.

MI Sibs holds an annual conference for sibs in Michigan with workshops on future planning, advocacy, and navigating social service systems.

The Massachusetts Sibling Support Network offers a range of social events for adult siblings. Past events include dessert nights, trivia nights, brunches, and screenings of sibling-related movies.

SibsNY, located in New York City with the goal of expanding throughout the Empire State, provides opportunities for adult siblings to gather for “food, friendship, and fun” throughout the year. Members of SibsNY also participate in local conferences and fundraising activities that support opportunities for children and adult sibs to connect.