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Lutheran Children’s Hospital and Easter Seals Arc Offer Special Classes for Siblings

Sibshops designed for brothers and sisters of children with special needs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009) — Lutheran Children's Hospital and Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana are working in tandem to offer a fun workshop designed especially for brothers and sisters of children with disabilities or special health concerns. The first class is scheduled for this Saturday, Feb. 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lutheran Hospital, lower level, special function rooms 1 and 2 for children ages 7 to 11. Lutheran Children's Hospital and Easter Seals Arc intend to begin offering these unique opportunities on a regular basis.

The goal of Sibshops is to provide siblings of children with special needs an opportunity to meet in a relaxed setting to discuss common joys and concerns, to find out how others handle similar situations and to learn more about the implications of their siblings' special needs.

"Sibshops strengthens participants by empowering them to be themselves," said Emily Enockson, certified child life specialist, Lutheran Children's Hospital. "It provides an opportunity for siblings to express what they're feeling and how they fit into the family, and it arms them with tools and resources they can take back to the family. It shines the spotlight on the siblings, encouraging them to interact with and support their peers while learning ways to deal with the challenges they face regularly."

SibShops are not therapy, group or otherwise, although their effect may be therapeutic for some children. Sibshops focus on the well-being of the family member most likely to have the longest-lasting relationship with a special-needs sibling.

Preregistration is required, and the $10 fee covers lunch and materials. Scholarships are available.

Each Sibshop targets a different age group. Upcoming Sibshops include:
May 9 — ages 12 to 16
Aug. 22 — ages 4 to 6
Nov. 21 — ages 7 to 11


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