Happenings Lifestyle Reader Contributed

The Miracle League of Connecticut Launches Program to Support Siblings of Children with Special Needs

Miracle League of Connecticut website

‘Sibshops’ is open to families in West Hartford and throughout the region.

Submitted by the Miracle League of Connecticut

The longest-lasting relationship a person with a disability will have is likely with their sibling.

That’s why The Miracle League of Connecticut is sponsoring a new program for siblings ages 7 to 13 of children with special needs.

The program, called “Sibshops,” is supported by the CT Siblings Network. It begins Saturday, March 17 and will continue on three additional dates: Sundays, April 15 and May 20 and Saturday, June 9.

“Sibshops are pedal-to-the-metal events where the ‘sibs’ will meet with other sibs (often for the first time), have fun, laugh, talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sibling with special needs, play some great games, learn something about the services their brothers and sisters receive, learn from each other and, most importantly, have some fun,” according to The Miracle League.

Although Sibshops could be considered therapeutic for participants, Mike Michaud, the executive director of The Miracle League of Connecticut stressed that they are not therapy, but rather a wellness offering that fits into the mission of the league to encourage participation in recreation and related growth opportunities for children of all abilities.

The Sibshops program – which is sponsored by a wide range of agencies including early intervention centers, school districts, children’s hospitals, churches, parks and recreation facilities and others – are often facilitated by adult siblings of people with disabilities.

“This is an important chance for the siblings of our Miracle League of Connecticut participants to feel included in the community that surrounds their sibling, not just as one of the supporters, but as someone who is also receiving support for the important role they play in the life of their brother or sister,” Michaud said. “At the Miracle League of Connecticut, we like to say that every child is a miracle. That doesn’t just extend to the children we typically serve through our programming. The siblings of our Miracle League kids are their own individual miracle in the life of their family and in our organization and we wanted to ensure they had their own place to feel understood and celebrated.”

All Sibshops sessions run from 1 to 4 p.m. The program cost is $50 for all sessions. Interested participants may register at www.miracleleaguect.org/sibshop. Space is limited. Sibshops are held at Chapter 126 Sports & Fitness, located at 47 Upson St. in Bristol.

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