Siblings of children with special needs are invited to FRA's Sibling Support Groups
Monmouth County-based FRA offers sibling groups for children to safely explore their feelings through art, storytelling and role playing.
By: Family Resource Associates, Inc.
Siblings of children with special needs often have a lot of questions and concerns, and FRA groups provide an opportunity for children to safely explore these feelings with others in similar situations. Monthly group sessions are fun and combine art, storytelling and role playing as tools for talking about differences and solving challenges. Groups are in part possible by the generosity of Monmouth Park Charities and The M. Bell Family. There is no charge for participation.
"It is rare to be able to find sibling groups, so this is a really special service that we offer to families in and around our area," said Sue Levine, Program Director/Social Worker for FRA. "Our mission is to support the entire family not only the individual with special needs. Kids need to know they are not alone and should be able to express their feelings without judgement."
FRA offers two sibling support groups. Toby's Friends Sibling Support Group (Ages 4-9) is for young brothers and sisters of children with special needs and are invited to come together for discussion, problem-solving, talking about differences and having fun together. Meetings are typically held the last Thursday of the month at FRA's Red Bank office from 4pm-5pm. Upcoming dates: Wednesday, February 26, 2020, Thursday, March 26, 2020, April 30, 2020 and May 28, 2020.
"Having two brothers with Down syndrome could be a lot for one little girl," said Tina O. "The Sibling group at FRA for 4-9-year-olds has been a game changer for my daughter. She is able to open up and share the things that she loves about her brothers and the things that may be difficult for her to understand. It has become a comfort zone for her, and she looks forward to going each and every month."
Toby's Friends Sibling Support Group (Ages 10-15) is for older brothers and sisters of children with disAbilities who may have growing concerns about what the future holds for them and their sibling(s). Quarterly group meetings allow siblings to connect with one another, explore feelings together and have fun. Most meetings take place at FRA's Red Bank office from 5pm-7pm. RSVP is required. The next group meeting will be held on May 7, 2020.
Jen R's son has been attending the sibling group for 10-15-year-olds. "[My son] always says that a lot of his friends don't understand our life," she said. "They don't understand all the extra therapy and appointments that come with having a sibling with special needs. He likes to connect with other kids that get it. While they all have different experiences, there are so many things that are the same. He reports that it helps him feel like he isn't alone. I think it is really great for him to have a safe space to express his feelings without worrying about hurting our feelings. I also think it helps him identify feelings or thoughts that he may not have put into words yet."
To learn more about sibling support groups and to RSVP, contact Sue Levine at 732-747-5310, ext. 117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Family Resource Associates
Family Resource Associates, Inc. (FRA) (https://www.frainc.org/
FRA assists individuals of all ages who have developmental delays or disAbilities as well as acquired disAbilities. FRA provides home-based early intervention for infants, therapeutic recreation programs, pre-vocational and educational classes for adults, employability training and job coaching, along with family and sibling support groups.
TECHConnection, a signature program of FRA, leverages technology to help increase, maintain or improve the capabilities of individuals with disAbilities as a result of accident, injury, illness or aging as well as related issues affecting hearing, vision, reading or mobility. To learn more, visit frainc.org. (https://www.frainc.org/)
Federal Tax ID # 22-2285850 - NJ Charity Registration # CH0232800