Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.
The Sibshop model intersperses interactive games like “push pin soccer” with quieter discussion activities during which kids talk openly about their feelings, positive and negative, about their special sibling. At the Sibshop training, we had a child whose little brother with autism is an ESCC Early Intervention client. Both parents had expressed concern particularly about their middle son, who had been acting out, and they were thrilled that their older children were invited to participate. Both children were actively engaged, and the son told his parents that “I found out that the other kids had a brother like A” and “I can’t wait until the next one!” His parents noted afterwards that he shared more about his feelings regarding his sib.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.
Since 1990, the Sibling Support Project has trained service providers in all 50 states and abroad on implementing the award-winning Sibshop program. ESCC staff was trained by the National Director, Don Meyer, and thus are “first generation” trainees. Locally there is a huge unmet demand for sibling support, and no other agency in our area offers this service. The Special Education Local Plan Areas for Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties serve a combined total of 13,658 students ages 0-22. Assuming at least one sibling each, the potential impact is significant. Even engaging 1/10th of them, 1300 siblings could benefit from Sibshops. We have presented Kids on the Block in Santa Cruz County for many years; since KOB is usually performed for 4th grade assemblies, thousands more students can learn about their peers of differing abilities, leading to a culture of greater empathy.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?
To launch Sibshops and expand the impact of Kids on the Block, we will engage our extensive network of contacts in school districts and partner agencies that serve families with special needs in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties for referrals, venues and support. Once we have begun presenting Sibshops and Kids on the Block assemblies on a regular basis in our coastal counties and analyzed our measurable outcomes, our intention is to seek additional funding to replicate Special Kids, Special Sibs to meet this same unmet need in the other seven counties we serve in the Central Valley.