We have recognized that often brothers and sisters of the children we serve are experiencing sorrow, anxiety, and distress. While children identified with disabilities may be eligible for therapy services, their brothers and sisters are not. PCDA offers support groups, composed of a small group of children, and led by a trained mental health specialist. These groups of children come together once a week for their own "special time." They find the companionship of others who are in similar situations, and problem solve together.
Parents of children with disabilities have told us that in retrospect, they wished they had devoted more time to their other children. Parents are understandably dedicated to a child with special needs, and although they may recognize the sacrifices and concerns of the other children, there are no resources for support for them. Siblings are affected in many ways: whether it is because they cannot go out of the house as often, or they must wait while their brother or sister receives therapy or goes to doctor's appointments or they simply get less of their parents' attention. Sometimes they witness the pain, crying, or aggression of the child with special needs. Often a sibling worries about what their friends will say, or feel ashamed or embarrassed. Further, siblings may hold fantasies that the disability may somehow transfer to them, or to their future children. These worries and misgivings may never be spoken.
At PCDA we have the staff to help the brothers and sisters explore these ideas, find honest answers, and receive understanding and acceptance. We work closely with parents to find ways to best support siblings and their special role in the family.
The group will meet once a week for 10 weeks. This will be a chance for children to learn, reflect, and share their experiences, concerns, and hopes with the guidance of a therapist. We will begin with a small group of 7-9 year olds, led by Melinda Martinez, MFTI and later expand to other ages.
All brothers and sisters, age 6-12, are welcome to PCDA's Sibling Saturdays! Sibling Saturday is a fun activity specifically for brothers and sisters of children with developmental disabilities. This is a chance for siblings to meet other siblings and have their own special time!
RSVP by the prior Friday morning, by phone or email.