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've recently increased the number of sessions that we run for siblings (or as we call them, SIBS) 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.

  • Every other Friday, 6-7.30pm - children in year 7 and over
  • Every other Saturday, 9.30-11am; 11.30-1pm; 1.30-3pm - children aged 5 (already at school) up to year 6

As well as these regular groups during term-time, SIBSupport sessions are also part of our school holiday timetables. Our Sibling 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 SIBSupport 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 SIBSupport sessions at the centre, we’re also able to deliver a five week sibling support course in schools this group is currently delivered online. 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.

We aim to work closely with schools and professionals to make sure that siblings are receiving the support they need in order to fulfil their potential. We are happy to meet with you or talk to the relevant people at your organisation about the best way to do this. See the results of our recent sibling support survey to find out a bit more about why we believe this is so important.

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]. To access our SIBSupport service you will need to complete one of our assessment forms for your family. You will then be able to book for upcoming sessions.

Find out about the support we offer for parents