Caring for Siblings

In this webcast, we hear from three siblings of people who have disabilities. Each adult sibling shares about the challenges, the differences, and the unique blessings of growing up in a home with a brother or sister who has a disability.

We discuss adult relationships and the roles of siblings as caregivers as their brothers and sisters age. We also share tips for younger siblings about growing up and navigating family life that is impacted by disability.

Ministry to siblings is one of the most overlooked ministries to families impacted by disability. As we consider intentional ministry to disciple kids, teens, and adults with disabilities, we must always keep in mind that they are part of a family. That family includes parents or caregivers, but it also likely includes one or more siblings who do not have a disability. Even without having their own disabilities to navigate, siblings are affected when the family system must yield to the needs of a brother or sister with a disability.

Many siblings grow up watching their parents sacrifice normal family experiences for the daily realities of disability. Parents often trade vacations, time with other children, time away as a couple, and ordinary family activities for therapies, surgeries, long-term care, endless IEP meetings, and more. This can result in real struggles for siblings, but it can also yield valuable perspective and a heart of thanksgiving.

Listen in as Ashley Belknap, Director of Engaging Disability With The Gospel, leads the discussion with panelists:

Sarah Edwards, sister to Caroline, 28, who has Down syndrome

Fred Hubach, brother to Tim, 29, who has Down syndrome

Lisa Updike, sister to John, 53, who has a profound intellectual disability, spastic quadriplegia, and is blind