Jack loves his brother, Max. They love playing together as superheroes (Jack is Spiderman and Max is the Hulk) but underneath it all, Jack knows he has to be patient and take a back seat sometimes because Max needs lots of care and attention.
Max, six, has Autism which results in him having trouble understanding social cues, emotions of self and others and he can become overwhelmed by too much information.
Caring for Max is a full-time job for his parents, taking most of their spare time, energy and money. Jack knows he is loved, but he’s tired of waiting and sometimes doesn’t feel like being nice to his brother because the kids at school tease him for having a ‘weird brother’.
Centacare North Queensland (NQ) understands Jack’s position only too well and aims to help kids in a similar position with the introduction of its new Sibworks course.
The program, which is the first of its kind in Townsville, supports those 8 to 12-year-old children who have a sibling with a disability.
Sibworks Australia created the course, which aims to support children whose needs are often overlooked in the chaos and stress of life in a family with a disabled child.
Education and Life Skills Program Manager, Sharon Thorburn, said the program will help bridge the gap in existing support services.
“We’re honoured to have the opportunity to bring this course to Townsville as we have found brothers and sisters can develop depression, anxiety and negative behaviours as a response to their family situation”,
Ms Thorburn said. “By offering this course, we hope to show siblings that it’s OK to have those feelings, give them tools to deal with it and also connect with other peers who are in a similar position, so they don’t feel so alone.”
The Sibworks program is a five-week course that aims to help participants to learn new skills to boost resilience, enhance communication with family and friends, develop a deeper understanding of their sibling’s disability, identify and explore strengths in themselves and their siblings, and be part of an understanding and supportive group of peers.
The Sibworks course aligns with Centacare NQ’s Disability Services team to offer families multiple support options under one roof.
Disability Services Manager, Lee-Anne Whalley, said Centacare NQ works closely with families to assist individuals with disabilities to maintain an independent lifestyle, but most importantly considers the whole family’s needs to provide a holistic approach to care and support.
Interested in learning more about how Centacare NQ can support you and your family?
Call them toll-free on 1300 NQ Care (1300 672 273) or click here to visit website.
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