At Swings & Smiles we understand just how different life is when you are living in a family where a brother or sister has a disability or special needs.

We appreciate how siblings are often known to be caring, sympathetic to others and mature for their age. We also know that they are likely to be affected in a number of ways by their brother’s or sister’s disability or special needs. For instance, they may feel they receive less attention from parents or maybe they have a hard time at school because of their situation. We understand the emotions siblings may struggle with and want them to know that they are important too.

Our services

We run three sessions for siblings (or as we call them, SIBS) a month at our centre in Thatcham, and they’re free to attend. Children are dropped off and we get up to all sorts of fun. These groups are a great opportunity for siblings to meet other children who understand their situation.

  • Second Friday of every month, 6.30-8.30pm - children in year 6 and over
  • Third Saturday of every month, 9.30-11am - children aged 5 (already at school) up until year 2
  • Third Saturday of every month, 11am-12.30pm - children in year 3 and over 

As well as these regular groups during term-time, SIBS session are also part of our school holiday timetables and run weekly throughout the summer break. Our SIBS coordinator Sara knows just what to plan to make each session fun, and even squeezes a trip in from time to time.

I like coming to SIBS because we get to play and do activities. I have lots of friends and they always play with me. Sara listens to me and she's fun.

As well as our SIBS sessions at the centre, we’re also able to deliver a five week sibling support course in schools. The groups in schools are structured sessions using group work and games to help tackle and solve many issues that siblings might encounter. We aim to increase awareness and understanding of emotions, to normalise them and learn coping strategies. Running these in a group setting helps reduce common feelings of isolation and increases confidence by being amongst peers who have similar experiences.

If you know of a school who may be able to benefit from this service, or if you have any other queries relating to our sibling support, then please contact [email protected].

See our latest timetable for this month's SIBS dates