Previous research and first-hand experience suggest that a child with a disability can have a profound effect on family life. Although the need for sibling support has been acknowledged in legislation, the implications for non-disabled siblings remain unclear. In this article, Angie Naylor, lecturer in psychology, and Phil Prescott, senior lecturer in childhood and youth studies, both based at Edge Hill, review a number of key themes emerging from the literature on sibling support. They go on to report the findings from an in-depth study of one sibling support group. The work was carried out in partnership with Barnardo's in the north-west of England and involved setting up a sibling support group, in response to an analysis of local need, and evaluating its impact. This research indicates a clear need for further service provision to meet the needs of the siblings of disabled children who attended the scheme. Angie Naylor and Phil Prescott argue for a reinvigorated debate about the needs of such children and champion the importance of listening to children and valuing what they have to say. The results of this small-scale evaluation project have clear implications for future research and, potentially, for policy and practice.
Naylor, A., & Prescott, P. (2004). Invisible children? The need for support groups for siblings of disabled children. British Journal of Special Education, 31(4), 199-206. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0952-3383.2004.00355.x