|CfC FP Objective||Supporting Families and Parents|
|Delivered to||Children 8 to 12 years of age who are siblings of a child with a disability.|
|Delivered by||Health and educational professionals can become program facilitators.|
|Program developer||Siblings Australia|
About the program
SibWorks is an early-intervention peer-support program for siblings of children with disabilities. SibWorks aims to reduce social isolation, enhance social networks, improve relationships between family members, and increase children’s resilience.
SibWorks is run as a structured program, delivered as 2-hour after school sessions for 6 weeks. There is also an option of 2 x 5-hour sessions. The program is suitable for groups of 6 to 12 children, and requires a minimum of 2 facilitators.
Each weekly session covers a set theme and includes a mix of physical activity, food, and reflective exercises. Weekly themes include:
- exploring individual differences
- exploring the expression of feelings
- problem solving
- coping with difficult situations.
Parents and children also participate in a pre-program interview and there are guidelines for a parent pre-program information session.
Siblings Australia provides consultation, training and implementation support to agencies that wish to include this program in their service delivery.
Training is not compulsory for experienced professionals; however, a facilitator manual is needed to run the program. Details, including a short video on the program, can be seen on the Siblings Australia website.
The program materials (a detailed facilitator manual, participant booklets and parent information sheets), can be purchased by contacting Siblings Australia.
$145 for the facilitator manual and 10 participant booklets plus $15 per hour in Australia
For information about training costs contact Siblings Australia directly.
Evaluation and effectiveness
A randomised control trial (Roberts et al., 2015) was conducted in 2015 with 42 participants aged 8 to 12 (22 were participants assigned to the intervention group, and 20 participants were assigned to the control group). Outcomes were measured at pre and post-treatment stages and at a 3-month follow up point.
Results showed that children in the intervention group had improved emotional and behavioural functioning with a medium to large effect post-intervention and at the 3-month follow up period.
Roberts, R.M., Ejova, A., Giallo, R., Strohm, K., Lillie, M., & Fuss, B. (2015). A controlled trial of the SibworkS group program for siblings of children with special needs. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 43-44, 21 – 31.