Therapeutic groups for siblings of children with special needs are groups that provide a double sided support system for siblings as they intersperse therapeutic activities, as well as discussion and recreational activities. As challenges can be a part of life with a sibling with special needs, therapeutic activities are used to alleviate any anxiety siblings might have, while also equipping them with the tools they might need to better emotionally handle, not only the stressors of family life but also day to day life in general. Trying to discuss the highs and lows of being a sibling of a child with special needs or why a sibling might feel the way they do, can sometimes not be easy to put into words. With the use of play therapy, participants in the group don’t need to have a cognitive or conscious understanding of how they feel but can explore and express it through the use of therapeutic play.
Through discussion and recreational activities within the group, siblings will also have the opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. This can have many benefits for participants as it can help reduce a sibling’s sense of isolation that they may be experiencing and also provide the opportunity to discuss the common joys and concerns of life with a child with special needs, with other siblings.
Through providing the dual outlet of being able to express what might be hard for siblings through play therapy, as well as providing peer support/friendship and through discussion/recreational activities, these groups aim to be a creative, relaxed, fun experience that not only address the downs but also celebrate the ups of being a sibling of a child with special needs.