This weekend, SLN board representatives and members from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia had the great pleasure of attending the MDSibs 2015 conference. MDSibs 2015 was sponsored by the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council in partnership with The Arc Maryland and By Their Side.
The day started with a keynote speech by the incomparable Don Meyer (director of the Sibling Support Project) that embraced the complexity of disability and family and explored the opportunities and challenges of growing up with a sibling with a disability. Following Don, a panel of diverse Marylanders shared their experiences as sibs and sibs-in-law.
In the afternoon, the conference split into breakouts, including a session facilitated by SLN Board members Kristina Majewski and Rachel Patterson. This session on the “Sibling Movement” focused on advancing the voices of siblings in policy in advocacy, including the SLN’s recent victory in clarifying sibling protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The session attendees also heard from Eric Luedtke, sibling and member of the Maryland House of Delegates for the 14th District, about how siblings can best get their voices heard in state capitols and especially in the Maryland legislature.
MDSibs 2015 also provided programming for sibs of all ages, with conference sessions for adults, SibShops for young sibs (under 13 years old) and special discussion time for teen sibs (13 to 17 years old), including on the topic of bullying.
The SLN congratulates MDSibs on a fantastic conference!