Sibling Policy Forums

Primary Practice

In person training for adult siblings of people with disabilities on advocacy skills for policy change with peer family members

Description

The Sibling Policy Forums were conducted to educate siblings of people with disabilities to advocate with their brothers and sisters with disabilities on issues important to them and their entire families.  Siblings often have the longest relationship of their lives with each other and they are an untapped constituency for policy advocacy. Siblings of people with disabilities can help educate policymakers in the movement toward full inclusion and participation of all individuals with disabilities.

Two community dialogue forums were held to engage siblings of people with disabilities in a policy discourse that resulted in recommendations for disability policy. The forums were peer led by two adult siblings from the Sibling Leadership Network with experts on specific policies provided by siblings who skyped into the sessions.  A total of 42 people attended and were educated about relevant policy issues from experts and given a Sibling Advocacy Toolkit with research and policy briefs, sample letters to policymakers, talking points, and steps to effectively share one’s story to impact change. Increased knowledge and empowerment of siblings through education was a major outcome of this initiative.

Target Population(s)

Adult siblings and their brothers and sisters with disabilities.

Implementation

The forums were funded by the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Goals/Objectives

  • To teach siblings to advocate with their brothers and sisters with disabilities
  • To educate siblings about relevant policy topics
  • To increase the sibling voice at the policy table on issues important to them and their entire families

Evidence of Outcomes

New Idea/Novel Approach
No formal research has been conducted on the practice to date. In a follow up surveys after the forums, participants said they would be more likely to become involved in disability policy, get involved in advocacy efforts, join/get more involved in advocacy organizations, and share what they learned with their family.

Additional Information

Sibling Leadership Network website: http://siblingleadership.org/sibling-policy-forum/