One of the hallmarks of sibling relationships is the sense of equality that we often experience or expect to experience with our brothers and sisters. For siblings of people with disabilities, however, this dynamic can change, particularly when they leave their parents’ home. One of the things that often changes is siblings without disabilities go off to college, get jobs and move on with their life, while unfortunately too many people with intellectual disabilities lag behind in those culturally expected milestones. Siblings have a unique commentary on this issue.
Employment is one of the highest impact ways that the dynamic changes for all of us. Increasing employment for people with disabilities has long been a target by self-advocates, families, and professionals in the field. Employment is good for people with disabilities, but it can also have a impact on sibling relationships. Employment isn’t just good for people with disabilities, it is good for their siblings as well, allowing more opportunities for the give and take relationships we expect from our sibling relationships.
View the series of PSAs we created, entitled “Siblings Rule,” to motivate siblings and others to make a meaningful difference to their brothers and sisters with disabilities.
-John Kramer, SLN