Tennessee Adult Brothers and Sisters (TABS)

A support and networking group for adult siblings of people with disabilities. TABS is Tennessee’s chapter of the national Sibling Leadership Network. It is led by the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center.

A Support Network for Adult Siblings

Having siblings with disabilities has its rewards and challenges. Being a sibling of a person with a disability can have profound lifelong impacts. Finding support from other siblings who have had similar experiences can be very helpful.

Connect with siblings through the TABS Facebook page and our TABS Chats (see below).

Contact TABS if you would like a speaker to provide trainings on sibling experiences and needs across the lifespan for a group or event.

For more information, please e-mail TABS at info.tabs@vumc.org. We are always interested in hearing from TN siblings about what needs they have and ideas for TABS activities.

TABS Events for Young Adult/Adult Siblings

TABS is currently hosting monthly “TABS Chats” for siblings via Zoom. These are free and informal virtual events where any adult or young adult siblings (including those outside of TN) can come to find peer support. Some chats feature guest speakers and others are just open discussions about sibling experiences.

Note: These events are not recorded to allow attendees to feel comfortable sharing personal stories. Unless otherwise noted on the event page, parents, professionals, and others who are not siblings to people with disabilities are welcome to attend to listen to speakers and discussions.

Events for Young Siblings (SibShops)

In previous years, TABS supported training people across Tennessee in becoming certified Sibshop facilitators. Sibshops are fun and engaging events for children with siblings with disabilities (typically ages 8-13) to connect with their peers.

  • Watch the here.
  • If you are with a group or agency with multiple people interested in becoming trained to offer Sibshops, email Emma Shouse at emma.shouse@tn.gov to discuss.

Local and National Sibling Resources

Sibling Leadership Network
TABS is an official state chapter of the Sibling Leadership Network. The mission of the Sibling Leadership Network is to provide siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support, and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters and to promote the issues important to them and their entire families. Learn more at http://siblingleadership.org/.

The Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute
The Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute is a free leadership and advocacy training led by the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities. “Partners” provides adults with disabilities and family members of people with disabilities (including siblings) with information about:

  • Disability services and how to access them
  • New and innovative programs and ideas
  • Disability policies and practices and how they affect our lives
  • Storytelling and media skills

This program takes place over 7 months (September-November and January-April). Each year around 30 diverse participants from across TN are selected; applications are accepted every spring. Click here to learn more, or contact Cathlyn Smith, Council Director of Leadership Development, at cathlyn.k.smith@tn.gov or 615-532-6556.

Sibling Support Project
The Sibling Support Project is a national effort dedicated to the life-long concerns of brothers and sisters of people who have special health, developmental, or mental health concerns. They believe that disabilities, illness, and mental health issues affect the lives of all family members. They want to increase the peer support and information opportunities for brothers and sisters of people with special needs and to increase parents' and providers' understanding of sibling issues.

Sibling Support on Facebook
SibNet is an online Facebook community for adult siblings around the world to share information and discuss issues of common interest. Search “SibNet” on Facebook and request to join group this private group only for siblings of people with disabilities. It is a large, active and diverse group of about 6,000 members. There are also closed groups for teenagers and twenty-something brothers and sisters of people with disabilities – search for “SibTeens” and “Sib20” on Facebook to join these private groups.