The sibling relationship is one of the longest relationships we ever have – 65 years or more. Siblings have an ever changing (developmental) need for information about their sibling’s disability, yet they are often neglected. The “family” that is addressed by professionals is in reality the parents or just the mom and the child with the disability.

Sibshops are for 8 – 15 year old typically developing brothers and sisters who have a brother or sister with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or special needs. (Typical Sibs only – no kids on the spectrum or with disabilities, please.) They provide opportunities for brothers and sisters to obtain peer support and education within a recreational context. They provide a chance for siblings to meet other siblings who have a brother or sister with Autism, learn about ASDs, share joys and concerns, problem solve, and have fun. The Sibshop model intersperses fast-paced recreational activities (designed to be unique, off-beat, and appealing to a wide ability range), with information and discussion activities, snack, and sometimes, special guests.

The goals of Sibshops are:
Goal 1: to provide brothers and sisters of children with special needs an opportunity to meet other siblings in a relaxed, recreational setting.
Goal 2: to provide brothers and sisters with opportunities to discuss common joys and concerns with other siblings of children with special needs.
Goal 3: to provide siblings with an opportunity to learn how others handle situations commonly experienced by siblings of children with special needs.
Goal 4: to provide siblings with an opportunity to learn more about the implications of their sibling’s special needs.
Goal 5: to provide parents and other professionals with opportunities to learn more about the concerns band opportunities frequently experienced by brothers and sisters of people with special needs.

Sibshops are a lively mixture of new games, discussion, and guest speakers. Participants should dress comfortably and be ready for action. Pizza lunch included.

Program Information:


November 13, 2021

December 18, 2021

January 15, 2022

February 19, 2022

March 19, 2022

April 9, 2022

Time: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Location: Alternate Learning Center
3939 Wrenwood, Toledo, Ohio

Wendy Smenner (Lake Erie West) and Kate Schwartz (Autism Society of NW Ohio)

Sibshops are FREE thanks to a grant from the Autism Provider Network. While Sibshops are more like a club than a class, we encourage all who register to make an effort to attend each session.

Contact Wendy Smenner, Parent Mentor/Sibshop Facilitator at Educational Services Center of Lake Erie West.  Phone: 419-214-3066; Email: