Individual & Group Support Services

"Toby's Friends" SUPPORT GROUPS FOR SIBLINGS

Partial Funding for Toby's Sibling Groups from Monmouth Park Charities, the M. Bell Family and the Schoeller Family.

At FRA the entire family matters! Siblings often have questions and concerns that they can readily explore with others who are experiencing a similar situation. At home they may feel left out or they don't want to put more on their family. Coming to a group, they realize they are not alone dealing with difficult issues at times. Resources are also available to help familes with all of their children.

  • Toby's Friends Sibling Support Group - Ages 4-9

    Plan to attend one of our monthly support groups for young brothers and sisters of children with special needs. These fun activity sessions combine art, stories, and role playing. There's also a discussion to answer questions, talk about differences, and solve problems. Children are welcome to attend monthly or occasionally as their schedule allows. Next meeting is held from 4-5 at FRA, the last Thursday of the month.
    2016/17: Sept. 29, Oct. 27, Dec. 1(due to Thanksgiving), Jan. 26, Feb. 23, Mar. 30, Apr. 27, May 25, 4:00-5:00.
    Children are welcome to attend all sessions, or just an occasional one as their schedule allows. There is no charge for this group.
    RSVP is needed in advance of each meeting by calling Sue Levine at 732-747-5310, ext. 117 or by email: slevine@frainc.org.

  • Click on photo to see more pictures of us having fun making gingerbread & talking about our siblings with learning differences!

  • Toby's Friends Sibling Support Group -  Ages 10-15

    Toby's Friends Sibling Support Group - Ages 10-15

    Older brothers and sisters of children with disabilities have growing concerns about what the future holds for them and their sibling. This quarterly program is held at various locations that feature food, discussion and fun! Join us for an interesting meeting designed to answer questions and explore feelings related to having a brother or sister with special needs. This meeting may be held while bowling, at the boardwalk or in a park!
    SPRING 2017 Meeting: May 11, 2017, 5 - 7PM at FRA. $8 per person for pizza & soda We will discuss the good parts & the challenging parts of having a sibling with a disability, and learn more about different disabilities, discuss feelings & problem solve solutions to difficult moments. This is a great way to share and learn from other students with interesting families just like yours! RSVP to Sue at 732-747-5310, ext. 117 or slevine@frainc.org.

    Do you know any other students who might be interested in this program? Please spread the word! Summer Meeting - 8/3/17 from 5-7:30 PM

  • WRITTEN BY BROTHERS AND SISTERS AGED 10-15 WHO ATTEND SIBLING GROUPS AT FRA

    WHAT IS IT LIKE TO HAVE A SIBLING WITH DOWN SYNDROME, AUTISM, CEREBRAL PALSY OR OTHER DISABILITIES?
    JUST ASK THE KIDS WHO KNOW!
    • Having a sibling with a disability can be really good. One good point is the special privileges. Some groups host parties or events that can be extremely exciting…… and siblings can attend too!
    • Brothers and sisters can have many feelings toward their sibling with a disability. They could feel angry, sad, all kinds of things. When they do something annoying, you can get aggravated. When they are calm, you can be relaxed.
    • Some days, your sibling can give you a hard time. And sometimes, you just want to trade your life for someone else’s.
    • People who have a brother or sister with a disability are very lucky because they are special and most of the time, you don’t want them to change.
    • Sometimes, others use the R-word. Using this word isn’t cool. It doesn’t make you a better person. I can make the whole family feel bad.
    • Sometimes you feel like it’s not fair because they need more help and attention. Your parents have to constantly be taking care of them. It gets annoying because you can’t spend as much time with your parents.
    • They make you happy when they are happy!
    • Life is like a fun house for them. It twists and turns, it’s loud and dark. It can be confusing for them.
    • When you have a sibling with a disability, it can be hard on your parents. They sometimes get stressed and grouchy.
    • Sometimes you may get paranoid with your sibling and you want your brother or sister to be normal. But most of the time we try to think of the positive not negative. But some days, you want to feel negative!
    • Being a sibling is like being invisible and being in the spotlight at the same time. When everybody loves them because they are “cute,” you feel like you’re not even there. But when they cause a scene, everyone loves to stare.
    • Despite all this, it only adds to your experience. You have some great stories to tell! Having a brother or sister with a disability makes life a whole lot more interesting!!

  • FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT...

    FASTEN YOUR SEATBELT... ..."A crash course on Down Syndrome for brothers and sisters," written by Brian Skotko and Susan Levine. Sue Levine, one of FRA's co-founders, initiated NJ's premier program for siblings, including monthly groups and newsletters. A wealth of information for parents and siblings, this book reflects her experience, compassion and wisdom for all brothers and sisters.

    NOW AVAILABLE IN A KINDLE VERSION!!
    Download HERE

Our Sibling Groups are made possible in part by the support of the Bell Family in memory of their son, Toby. Toby's siblings greatly enjoyed and benefited from attending these groups when they were young.

Individual & Group Support Services

From A Sibling's Perspective,
by Luisa Rinaudo

When people speak to one another, the voice that is heard, matters. It's the voice that tells the person they are special and that no one should tease you for your inability to lead a normal life. I realize this as I watch my 12 year old brother, Sal, who has Down syndrome. He demonstrates that he is eager to learn something new everyday. I see as he struggles to do something as tedious as to write his full name or tie his shoes. But he persists and now he can do these things independently. He looks up at me with his endearing brown eyes and freckled face every time he accomplishes a goal only showing me his unconditional love. You may not realize how much one word can affect a person especially those who can't defend themselves. I think the "R" word is one of the most disrespectful words that can change the way we look at a person; especially someone who has a mental or physical disability.
Read more about how much Luisa loves her brother and her campaign to have people stop using this derogatory and hurtful word.
Click below to read more about how much Luisa loves her brother and her campaign to have people stop using this derogatory and hurtful word.

 

Individual & Group Support Services

English Essay Written by Local High School Sophmore & Sibling

The R Word Must End

          Hello and good morning, students, faculty, and administration.  I would like your attention for a few minutes to discuss a serious issue. As teenagers, we tend to use a few words that we shouldn’t say. But there is one word in particular that may seem like a normal, everyday word, but in reality this word is one of the worst words used in society. This malicious and cruel word is “retarded.”  I’m sure several of you are quite surprised, you might use this word often and have no idea what I’m talking about. How many times do you think you have said this word in your life? Did you know there have been campaigns and pledges concerning the end of this word?  According to the R-Word Campaign, “The R-word hurts because it is exclusive. It's offensive. It's derogatory.”

          I am so passionate about this subject because the “r-word” is targeted towards the idea of someone being less advanced or less developed than others, essentially a person with disabilities or issues of some kind.  My older sister has Down syndrome. When she was born, my family wanted to be as involved in her life as possible.  My parents found an organization (FRA) that helps families with babies with disabilities and have done everything they can to help her to be involved in fun activities, like dance and cheerleading. My family and I are very involved with my sister’s disability, and strongly support all causes that help to protect people with special needs, like The R-Word Campaign.

          The R-Word Campaign was created by Special Olympics.  Special Olympics was created by Eunice Kennedy Shriver.  She was one of the first people to stand up for those with special needs.  It is olympics for people with disabilities to participate in.  It is a huge organization that has achieved many triumphs in the special needs world. They have improved the lives of tons of families of kids with disabilities and given people a chance at something they probably never would have gotten. The R-Word Campaign is not only supported by well known companies like Special Olympics and Best Buddies, they also have 200 other organizations from around the world behind them. Their goals are to get people to stop using the word “retarded” and to spread awareness, acceptance, and inclusion of people with disabilities. They ask people to pledge to end their use of this word because it is intensely hurtful for many reasons.  The campaign gives strong reasons to pledge, including how once the use of the word stops, then more accepting attitudes will form because (according to the R-Word Campaign) “language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.”  Everything is like a domino effect in this world.  For example, if a friend of yours stops saying the r-word, naturally, you will lessen your use of the word as well because you won’t hear it as much from others.  So even if just one person decides to make a change in their language, it can affect many other people’s vocabulary as well.  

          I’m sure some of you may be thinking, “why does saying a word matter so much?” or  “I’m not saying it to be mean,” or any other protests to not use this word.  But really, you never know who could hear you. I cannot even keep track of how many times I hear people saying “Oh my god that is so retarded!” or something similar. I hear these phrases, and many more, every day, almost everywhere I go, especially in this school.  I know not everyone is aware of the level of pain this word can cause many people, so I understand why so many people use it as a regular word. I hope your thoughts will change. Think before speaking, acting, texting, doing anything! Tons of people of all kinds of differences feel left out, alone, and made fun of. Please understand how important this subject is and eliminate the r-word from your vocabulary.  Together, we can all make society a more accepting and kind place where everyone feels safe and allowed to be who they are.  The R-word is a very harmful word people say and it must end now. With your help, this intensely cruel word can be diminished, for the sake of the tons of people that it offends, like my sister and me.

 

Family Resource Associates Inc.   A center of hope in Shrewsbury, NJ since 1979

35 Haddon Ave., Shrewsbury, NJ 07702 | info@frainc.org

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