Sibshops are back at Abilis! Abilis’ Sibshops are workshops for individuals ages 9-14 who are brothers and sisters of someone who has a disability. Sibshops are high-spirited, relaxed events that combine recreation, discussion and information for siblings who endure the struggles and successes of having a brother or a sister with a disability. Sibshops provide a safe-space for siblings to share their thoughts and feelings while also enjoying themselves through different recreation activities.


Abilis’ Sibshops will be held in person once a month from September to December. There will be two groups, one for siblings ages 9-11 and the other for siblings ages 12-14. If there are not enough siblings to fill each group, all ages will be combined. Spots are reserved on a first come, first serve basis. The workshops will be co-facilitated by Maddy Schulte and Mary Kate (MK) Blum.

Maddy SchulteMaddy is a case manager, healthy relationships and self-advocacy instructor at Abilis. She graduated in May from Fordham University with her master’s degree in social work and started at Abilis as an intern in September of 2019 and fell in love with the work they do. She received her Sibshop facilitator certification in July 2020 and couldn’t be more excited to continue brining siblings to experience Sibshops at Abilis!

Mary KateMary Kate, otherwise known as MK, is 17-years-old and attends Greenwich Academy. She is passionate about musical theater and the GA Varsity Dance Team. Outside of school, MK is a Girl Scout Senior and a volunteer at Abilis where she serves as the Secretary on the Abilis Youth Board. MK is also close with her family, especially her sister Brinkley who, along with many talents and unique qualities, is challenged with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. MK couldn’t be more excited to continue helping with Abilis Sibshops where she can help siblings have fun, relax, learn and connect with other peers who just get it!

What are Sibshops? Sibshops are workshops that provide opportunities for individuals with siblings who have a disability to connect, have fun, relax and talk about the good and not-so-good parts of having a sibling with special needs. Sibshops are recreation-based workshops where siblings will get to know one another, play games and learn something about the services their brother(s) or sister(s) receive.

Are Sibshops a form of therapy? Sibshops may be therapeutic for some siblings but they are not considered therapy or an alternative to therapy. Sibshops are meant for individuals to relax and enjoy themselves while connecting to others who have walked similar paths in life.

Who attends Sibshops? Sibshops are designed for individuals who have a brother or sister with special needs. Although, Sibshops are not limited to brothers and sisters of those who have special needs and have expanded in recent years to brothers and sisters of individuals with medical or mental health concerns, too. If you have a question on whether or not you qualify for a Sibshop, just ask!

Who sponsors Sibshops? Sibshops can be sponsored by several agencies, organizations or local retailers but Abilis’ Sibshops are not co-sponsored.

Who facilitates Sibshops? Sibshops are ideally facilitated by a service provider, such as a social worker, special education teacher, physical therapist or an occupational therapist. Additionally, Sibshops like to have a facilitator who is a sibling themselves! This allows for group members to have someone there who can directly relate. Sibshops also require facilitators to have certain qualities such as someone who enjoys the company of kids, are good listeners and have the ability to convey a sense of joy, excitement, understanding and fun!

Fall 2021 Sibshops Workshops will be held on a monthly basis and groups will be separated by age. Please see below.

DATES FOR SIBLINGS 9-11: Sept. 15, Oct. 13, Nov. 3, Dec. 1 – 5p.m. to 6:30p.m.

DATES FOR SIBLINGS 12-14: Sept. 29, Oct. 27, Nov. 17, Dec. 15 – 5p.m. to 6:30p.m.

*Groups will be combined if there are not enough siblings to fill each group*

Registration fee for all four workshops will be $40 upfront. For additional information and/or any questions please contact Maddy Schulte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If interested, please fill out consent form – click here. And, to register and pay for workshops please visit