Who is a Sibling?
The term sibling refers to the people who have a close sibling or sibling-like relationship with a person with any type of disability (including a physical, intellectual, developmental, cognitive, psychological, learning or other disability). Throughout this guidebook we will just use the term “sibling” instead of writing out the full “sibling of people with disabilities” each time.
A sibling supporter is anyone who is supportive of the importance of the sibling experience and is important to the Network. Sibling supporters can include people with disabilities other family members, friends, professionals, and anyone who believes in the mission of the SLN.
“Sib-in-laws” are important supporters for our sibling networks. Sib-in-laws are the people who choose to date, partner with and/or marry someone who has a sibling with a disability. Siblings know that sib-in-laws are very important in our lives and often provide support to us individually as well as sometimes to our brothers and sisters with disabilities and our whole families.
Once a sibling, always a sibling. Therefore, we warmly welcome siblings whose brother or sister with a disability has passed away. We have many members who have joined the SLN long after their brother or sister with disabilities died. They retain their sibling perspective and are valuable to our groups.
SLN leaders have had deep discussion about our mission and values. We welcome those that are drawn to our mission and values. We rely on people from across the country that share their time and talents to make the organization what it is today.
The sibling movement is strong and building momentum. The SLN has been a vehicle to bring together the movement and support agents of change. The future of the SLN and the sibling movement is in all of our hands.
Core Values of the SLN
- Individuals with disabilities have the same rights as all members of society to dignity, respect and the opportunity to grow and to be productive members of their communities.
- Siblings of individuals with disabilities can have a powerful, positive impact on their siblings’ experiences, and are uniquely positioned to help ensure their present and future care in partnership with service organizations and government.
- In promoting the rights of our brothers and sisters, and of all individuals with disabilities, we are committed to advocating for policies and services that meet their needs.
- Siblings can be of great support to one another to enhance both our lives and the lives of our siblings.
Who should join the SLN?
- Siblings of people with disabilities. By uniting, we can support each other and be stronger together.
- People with disabilities. The self-advocacy movement serves as a model for us to learn how we can get involved in advocacy with our brothers and sisters.
- Parents and family members. Connections through the SLN can provide a unique perspective for families.
- Professionals. Many professionals can provide important support to siblings and partner with them throughout their lives.
- Sibling supporters. Anyone who is a friend or colleague to siblings and their families is welcome.
Why should you join the SLN?
- Stronger together—become connected to siblings and sibling supporters nationwide. The SLN is dedicated to advancing causes important to the millions of siblings of people who have disabilities. The more members we have, the greater impact we will have.
- Information is power—all members receive information and updates about our activities as well as initiatives, policy decisions and sibling related events that are important to brothers and sisters. Keep up to date on conferences and events, initiatives, policy decisions, and more.
- Chapter connections—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.
If you are a sibling of an individual with a disability, please also join SibNet.
SibNet is the first and largest online community for adult brothers and sisters from around the world. SibNet is co-sponsored by the Sibling Support Project and the SLN. This online network of adult siblings provides a space for sibs to connect and share information with each other from their perspective.
Join SibNet at https://siblingsupport.org/connect/sibnet/