Now What: My Sibling has a Disability​?

As part of ongoing efforts for individuals with disabilities and special needs and their families, Jewish Family & Children’s Service (JF&CS) and Jewish Residential Services (JRS) will hold the upcoming presentation, “Siblings Matter Too: What it is like to grow up with a brother or sister with a disability?,” through the educational series AIM. The presentation will be held on Monday, September 8, from 6-8 p.m. at JF&CS’s offices, located at 5743 Bartlett Street in Squirrel Hill. 


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From physical disabilities that impair mobility, to behavioral issues related to attention difficulties and developmental disorders like autism, each disability presents its own set of challenges unique to individuals and their families. At JF&CS, we work with families by providing information and referral services, counseling and support groups, advocacy, community outreach programming and more. We are committed to providing ongoing programs, services and support addressing the needs, strengths, opportunities and challenges of people with disabilities in our communities and their families.


“Sometimes siblings feel that they are being selfish by openly talking about their own emotions and experiences when growing up with a brother or sister with a disability. Sometimes parents feel a sense of guilt about all of the time they need to spend with a child who has a disability and worry they are not spending enough quality time with siblings,” said Linda Marino, critical and special needs coordinator at JF&CS.


A panel of adult siblings will share their experiences, insights and challenges of growing up and navigating adult life as a sibling of a brother or sister with a disability. Linda, who is the mother of two, including an adult child with special needs, will facilitate the discussion-based program. The program is appropriate for parents, siblings and family members.


“This program is an opportunity for parents and siblings to learn from the experts–adult siblings who have lived the experience,” Linda said. “Our goal is to reassure siblings that their experiences are shared and to give them a concrete sense of where to go for additional information, resources and support. Hopefully, all family members will have a better understanding of the thoughts and feelings siblings experience from childhood through adulthood.”


The presentation is free and open to the community and includes a light kosher meal at 6 p.m. Registration is required. For more information or to register, contact Linda at or 412-422-7200.


At JF&CS, our goal is to advance the quality of life, dignity, equality and freedom of choice of people with disabilities through ongoing advocacy, community education, counseling, support groups and extensive information and referral services. If you are seeking information, resources, services or support for yourself or a loved one, contact Linda Marino at JF&CS at 412-422-7200  or by email at, or visit our website at to find out how we can help.

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