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Specialist speaker

This gives siblings the opportunity to have their questions answered by someone with specialist disability knowledge.

How to do it

  • Invite a specialist to attend a session to answer questions from siblings, for example, a community learning disability nurse, a school nurse, a teacher from the local special school, an autism advisor, or a paediatrician. Inform them about the types of conditions that the siblings are likely to want to know about.
  • Before the speaker arrives, preferably the week before, ask siblings to write down their questions on cards and put them in a question box.
  • When the speaker arrives the siblings then take it in turns to read out a question from the box.

Which category?

This activity helps siblings learn about some of the main aspects of a specific condition. It works well for autism which is the example used here, but can be used for any condition. Use the information on YoungSibs to help you plan this activity for other conditions.

You will need

Four large sheets of paper, markers and blu tac, and a room large enough to run around in.

How to do it

  • On each sheet write a main aspect of autism that affects most children who have it – Social skills, Imagination and routines, Talking and listening, Sensitive senses. Put each sheet up on the wall in a corner of the room.
  • Explain that for children with autism their brains work differently and that these four things are harder for them than for other children.
  • Give examples of typical experiences or behaviours for children with autism and tell the siblings which category this fits into e.g. ‘not joining in with pretend games is about not being able to use their imagination in the same way as other children.’ Ask siblings for their own examples and explain how they fit into one of the categories.
  • Call out an aspect of life for a child with autism and tell the siblings to run to the corner of the room with the category they think it fits into e.g. ‘doesn’t like getting hair washed’ fits into the Sensitive senses category. Some aspects may fit into two different categories and you can discuss that with them.
  • Let siblings know that these are things that most children with autism experience or find hard and that most siblings find these things hard to deal with too.