More research is needed examining the role that siblings play in the support and caregiving of their brothers and sisters with disabilities across the life course. The perspective of the siblings with and without disabilities is important to examine. We need to better understand how siblings can successfully transition into caregiving roles, what facilitates siblings to support the self-determination of their brothers and sisters with disabilities, and how can the needs of siblings be adequately addressed.
The Sibling Leadership Network (www.siblingleadership.org) believes that brothers and sisters of people with disabilities play important roles in families. The sibling relationship is an enduring bond and often the longest lifelong relationship which has a profound influence throughout a person’s life with shared experiences and memories. Siblings are uniquely positioned in the family to support their brothers and sisters with disabilities to lead self-determined lives. Siblings often become the next generation of caregivers when parents are no longer able to fill this role. Yet, the needs and perspectives of siblings are often overlooked.