Apologies for the cross-posting and please forward widely to anyone you
think may be interested…
To: The Sibling Leadership Network
Welcome to all the people who are new to the Sibling Leadership Network
(SLN). And, thank you to those who have been active in the network. We
plan to use this listserv to have more regular communication with the
network and our goal is to send an update about once a month.
As most of you know, the SLN is a national network whose mission is 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. Founded in 2006, the
SLN connects siblings nationally to be the leading voice on policy,
research, and services and supports for siblings. Made up predominately of
siblings of people with disabilities, the network also includes family
members and people with disabilities as well as professionals who support
the mission. Here is a little history to get you up to speed:
• 2006—The Sibling Leadership Network was founded by Tamar Heller, Ph.D., at
the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Developmental
Disabilities, University of Illinois at Chicago; John Kramer, Ph.D.,
Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts; Tom Fish,
Ph.D., at the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University; Don Meyer of the
Sibling Support Project; and Ann Kaiser, Ph.D., at the Vanderbilt Kennedy
Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
• 2007 (November)—The first national conference of the Sibling Leadership
Network, held in Washington DC, brought together over 80 brothers and
sisters of individuals with disabilities, researchers, policymakers,
self-advocates, funders, and other committed professionals in the
disabilities field. The conference included ratification of the SLN mission,
purpose, and values as well as presentations from experts, and the formation
of working groups.
• 2007 (December thru October)—Three working group were active in the
development of white papers addressing 1) Research, 2) Policy and Advocacy,
and 3) Services and Supports related to siblings and families:
http://www.rrtcadd.org/assets/SLN_White_Paper.pdf. These papers establish
principles guiding work in these areas, review the contemporary issues in
each area and outline action steps. The goal of the SLN in preparing these
papers was to create a framework for future action and to offer
opportunities for siblings to partner with government and service providers
to ensure the highest quality of life for their entire families. Members of
SLN have met with Senators Edward Kennedy (MA) and Sherrod Brown (OH) to
discuss policies affecting adults with disabilities and their families.
Members also provided input to presidential candidate Barak Obama's
Disability Policy Committee. The SLN has regularly provided information on
siblings to interested groups including researchers, community providers,
and policy makers; disseminated information about sibling issues and events;
and communicated with policy makers on Capitol Hill and at the state and
• 2008 (November)—The second national conference of the SLN was held in
Columbus, Ohio and brought together over 65 people from across the country
committed to the mission of the Sibling Leadership Network. A Steering
Committee was developed that includes a representative from Self Advocates
Becoming Empowered (SABE), a national self-advocacy organization for people
with developmental disabilities and an important partner of the SLN.
• 2009—Interest in the SLN continues to grow nationally and is becoming
recognized internationally. Currently, sibling networks in Ohio, Tennessee,
Illinois, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin have been involved in the
development of SLN. Events for siblings were held over the spring in New
York, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Minnesota continuing to reach siblings and
link them to support and advocacy resources.
Please forward this message to anyone who may be interested in the SLN.
Please also let us know if you are interested in getting involved in one of
our workgroups on policy and advocacy, research, and services and supports.
Feel free to contact either John Kramer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or
Katie Keiling (email@example.com) if you want to know more or
have any questions. If you would like to be removed from this list, please
All the best,
-John Kramer and Katie Keiling, Co-chairs of SLN