Background

It is difficult to calculate how many people are siblings of individuals with disabilities as often these numbers are not recorded by governments. To get a rough idea, we can look at figures from the United Kingdom in 2019, where 2.3 million people were identified as having a sibling with a disability or long term illness.

If you consider that nearly a fifth of the world’s population has a recognised disability and the number of children in 2021 with disabilities globally was estimated to be almost 240 million, that is a lot of brothers and sisters! When you also consider the numbers of people who do not have recognised disabilities but do struggle to access every day activities, services, places and spaces, you realise this is probably an underestimate.

A large crowd of blue characters, some with visible disabilities including wheel chair users, blind and deaf characters, someone is stimming, others with less obvious disabilities or nothing visible at all.  There is a child crying, a couple are talking to adults, a couple of people look stress, others are happy. One guys is sitting on the floor in obvious distress. One lady is dancing and wearing flamboyant clothes. Everyone else is wearing red or yellow and dark blue clothing. Everyone has a blue face, with a dark blue triangular shaped nose.

The siblings of children who do have special or additional needs and disabilities, are not only not counted in statistics but they also do not feature in care or support plans and packages offered by social and health services. However, siblings face a wide range of emotional, social and physical pressures and demands, which can lead to them having mental health and physical difficulties. It is only then that they become visible to the services. This course will help you identify ways to help support those young people and hopefully prevent scenarios where they need serious interventions.

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