Being a brother or sister of a child with special needs can be tough. Siblings sometimes feel:
  • Guilt that they are 'normal'

  • Embarrassment about their sibling

  • Fear that they will develop the same illness or disability

  • Anger about the attention their sibling receives

  • Loneliness

Brothers and sisters may also need support to help them deal with these feelings. Give them age-appropriate information about their sibling's disability or condition. This can help siblings deal with feelings about their brother or sister's special needs and answer questions they might have.

Siblings also need a chance to talk to other children who have some of the same feelings and experiences. The Sibling Support Project at Arc recognizes the unique needs of brothers and sisters. They offer workshops, provide educational materials, and maintain a database of other sibling supports.

Your child may want to connect with other siblings of children with special needs on the Internet. The Sibling Support Project hosts two listservs. Parents are welcome to listen in on both lists.

  • Sibnet is a listserv for adult brothers and sisters of people with special needs.

  • SibKids is for young brothers and sisters.

Visit the Sibling Support Project website for more information.

For other information about sibling support groups in your area, contact Family TIES, your local Arc, or your child's primary care provider (PCP).


This information is provided by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Department of Public Health.