Frequently Asked Questions
How involved do I want and/or need to be with my sibling with a disability?
This is a personal decision and may be a decision that changes over time. It may be influenced by parental wishes and the needs of your sibling. However, you must identify what you want before weighing in other factors.
Are there other adult siblings feeling as uncertain and up-in-the-air as I am?
Absolutely! All families are different, but adult siblings often are unclear about their future role with their brother/sister. It is certainly not uncommon to struggle over issues of family responsibility and commitment.
How does having a sibling with a disability impact my spouse/children?
Some siblings choose their mates and friends based on how their brother/sister reacts to these people. It is not uncommon to hear, “love me, love my sibling with a disability.”
Who can I turn to for support and information?
For service and support help, there are county boards of Developmental Disabilities in every Ohio county (see the referrals page for contacts) as well as the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (www.dodd.ohio.gov) that can link you to numerous information and support resources. Other families are also a great resource – not only for professional system delivery information but for the social connectivity, emotional camaraderie and shared experiences. For specific questions and help please contact us!
What ways are there to advocate for my sibling?
Advocacy begins by being well informed about a situation that requires change. It also requires identifying people in power to effect change. An effective advocate is passionate in their belief, relentless, and realistic to know that there may need to be a willingness to compromise. Advocacy can be accomplished indirectly and directly on many levels with brothers and sisters.
How do I talk to my parent(s) about what plans they have made for my sibling and/or involve me in the planning process?
Before talking with your parents, it might help to make a list of what you want to know. Your parents may be more receptive to talking to you than you think. Be direct and let them know why you want to be informed and involved. If your parents are resistive or refuse to tell you, then wait a month or so and bring the subject up again. You will need to be persistent in a gentle yet direct manner. It might be beneficial to enlist the help of another family member, friend, fellow sibling or your sibling’s service provider.
How can I tell if my sibling has the support and services they need and want?
For some, just asking the questions may be enough. However, you can usually tell by looking at your sibling’s behavior to see if anything has changed or needs to change.
How can I resolve disagreements with my other siblings?
Examine the overall relationship you have with your other siblings first. Differences in opinions about your brother/sister with a disability may simply be reflective of other differences or conflicts that you have. Try to always focus on what is in the best interest of your sibling with a disability. It might help to have a case manager or other professional mediate planning sessions.
What does being a guardian/trustee/payee for my sibling entail?
It means representing your sibling in a way that you think they would want to be treated. There is a certain amount of accountability involved with serving on behalf of your sibling both in terms of decisions you make and responsibility for financial expenditures. Assuming this responsibility should always include involving your sibling with choices and decision-making as much as possible.