Lessons in disability care for siblings
A vocational training institute will start training siblings of children with disabilities to sensitise them to the needs of their brothers and sisters so that they are not “overwhelmed” by their responsibilities, especially in the absence of parents.
Minu Budhia, the founder director of ICanFlyy — an institute that trains individuals with disabilities — said the primary concern of most parents of children with disabilities is who will take care of their children after them and the institute would be conducting counselling sessions for siblings to be more empathetic.
“The siblings have to be trained to be more sensitive and understanding. When they are growing up, often they are overwhelmed by the fact that they have huge responsibilities in taking care of their siblings with special abilities. But they have to understand they have responsibilities as a sibling and it is a role that they cannot escape and that they should take up willingly,” Budhia said.
Younger siblings should also be counselled because they often feel neglected as the child with disability gets more of the parents’ attention. “We have to make them aware that their siblings are not like them and the whole family together has to take care of them. This has to be inculcated in them early,” she said.
The institute, in its second year, has started new initiatives and workshops from this month.
Budhia said the institute has been trying to increase awareness, decrease stigma and encourage acceptance and all of it starts “at home”.
“There is no book or manual but parents have questions about challenges they face at home. Often in a group counselling session, parents identify with the challenges that many of them come across but in their own homes. We also train the parents to be more accepting of their children and recognise their abilities, especially young mothers who initially find it difficult to accept,” Budhia said.
She said it was essential to understand and accept both their capabilities and limitations, encourage their achievements and “support” any setback.
“Our aim is to make them less dependent,” Budhia said.