The Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) is a national nonprofit with state chapters dedicated to providing information and support for siblings of people with disabilities across the lifespan. Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters (SIBS) is the Illinois state sibling chapter. SLN and SIBS 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. Siblings often have the longest relationship of their lives with each other and support each other to lead self-determined lives. Siblings of people with disabilities have traditionally been overlooked, yet the sibling perspective brings value to strengthen family support. Siblings need a range of information at different points in their lives: from young siblings who need to know how to answer questions from their classmates or how to deal with bullying to adult siblings who are juggling the care of their aging parents and their own children, as well as learning how to support their brother or sister with disabilities. Siblings often juggle the caregiving of their aging parents, their own children, as well as their brother and sisters with disabilities. Yet, the needs and perspectives of siblings are often forgotten. More focus is needed to support siblings of people with disabilities throughout the lifespan.
The Sibling Leadership Network (SLN), with our Illinois state sibling chapter Supporting Illinois Brothers and Sisters (SIBS), will take a three-pronged approach to increase sibling support in Illinois by focusing on the following three areas: educate siblings, parents, and professionals through resource provision, engage siblings across the lifespan, and build sibling leadership in Illinois.