As a proud partner of The Arc of the United States, the national Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) commends The Arc for its recent survey and report which raise awareness of the needs of aging individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their caregivers.
We are especially appreciative of The Arc’s recognition of the increasingly important role that siblings play as caregivers, and of its efforts to include the feedback of siblings in its recent report.
In the U.S., over 75% of adults with IDD live at home with family caregivers, and over 25% of these caregivers are over the age of 60 years. There is growing recognition throughout the disabilities field that, in light of our aging population of adults with IDD and shrinking government funding for services, for policy reasons it is becoming increasingly important to consider the role of siblings.
We, as members of the SLN, believe that siblings can serve as natural supports to their brothers and sisters with IDD, if provided with information, support and other resources to meet their own needs as caregivers. The SLN is dedicated to supporting the siblings of individuals with IDD by providing access to information, resources and opportunities to connect with one another.
Addressing the needs of siblings is a major but necessary change in the disabilities field, and a priority of the SLN in partnership with The Arc. The recent report by The Arc provides vital information about significant challenges confronting siblings and other caregivers of individuals with IDD. It also serves as inspiration for all of us, as members of the disability community, to join together to find solutions that will ensure the well being of individuals with disabilities and the people who love them.