Child Development and Parenting

What Are Sibshops?

Sibshops for Siblings of Children With Special Health and Developmental Needs

Seattle Children's Sibshops are lively, pedal-to-the-metal, award-winning celebrations of the many contributions made by brothers and sisters of kids with special needs. Sibshops acknowledge that being the brother or sister of a person with special needs is for some a good thing, others a not-so-good thing, and for many, somewhere in between. They reflect a belief that brothers and sisters have much to offer one another – if they are given a chance.

The Sibshops model mixes information and discussion activities with new games (designed to be unique, offbeat and appealing to a wide ability range) and special guests. There are currently more than 200 Sibshops across the United States, Canada and elsewhere. All are modeled after Seattle Children's Seattle-area Sibshops! To learn where else in the world you can find a Sibshop, visit the Sibling Support Project, a national program dedicated to the concerns of brothers and sisters of people with special needs.

Sibshops for Siblings of Kids with Special Developmental and Learning Needs (morning session) includes, but is not limited to, autism, Down syndrome, ADHD and developmental delays.

Sibshops for Siblings of Kids with Developmental Needs and/or Special Health Concerns (afternoon session) includes, but is not limited to, diabetes; cancer; cystic fibrosis; muscular dystrophy; heart, kidney, liver, gastrointestinal or lung disease; autism; cerebral palsy; Down syndrome; ADHD; and spina bifida.


This is a series of workshops offered monthly during the school year for siblings age 6–9 and 10–13. Groups alternate months based on age. Each session is three hours long. Participants can attend any or all of the sessions within their age group.

Sessions are led by our experienced Sibshops facilitators and hosted in the hospital’s Ocean Cafe. We have designed these sessions to be engaging and interactive, including games, art projects, discussion activities and more.

2023-2024 Sibshops dates

  • September 9, 2023
  • October 7, 2023
  • November 4, 2023
  • December 9, 2023
  • January 6, 2024
  • February 3, 2024
  • March 2, 2024
  • April 6, 2024
  • May 4, 2024
  • June 1, 2024

Classes in September, November, January, March and May are for siblings ages 6 to 9. Classes in October, December, February, April and June are for siblings ages 10 to 13.


  • Individual sessions are $30 and you can register for all the sessions at a discounted price.

View Upcoming Classes and Register Online

This is a series of workshops offered monthly during the school year. Click the “Register for Classes” button above to view available dates for registration. Please call Sibshops registration at 206-987-4133 or email us with questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Sibshops?

    When a child becomes ill, the entire family is affected. Sibshops provide support and guidance to siblings of children with special medical or developmental needs. Siblings are encouraged to share the challenges and celebrate the joys with brothers and sisters in similar situations.

  • What is covered in Sibshops?

    Sibshops combine information and discussion activities with games, art projects and more. It is also an opportunity for siblings to share the challenges and celebrate the joys with brothers and sisters in similar situations

  • Who runs Sibshops?

    Sibshops are run by a team of people who have professional and, in some cases, personal understanding of the impact a child's illness or disability can have on family members. Equally important, they all have great kid skills! Both Sibshops sometimes have “junior facilitators” who are sibs in their later teen years. Cathy Harrison, child life specialist, and Lina Lewis, senior program coordinator, coordinate both Sibshops teams.

  • When do Sibshops take place?

    Sibshops take place one Saturday per month during the school year, groups alternate months based on age.

  • Where do Sibshops take place?

    Sibshops are held at Seattle Children’s Hospital Campus in the 7th floor Ocean Café. 

  • When does the session start and end?

    The morning session goes from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and the afternoon session goes from 2–5:00 p.m.

  • Do parents attend the class?

    No. Parents are expected to sign their child in before the session starts and pick them up promptly when it ends.

  • Can I just drop off my child?

    No, we ask that parents bring their child into the cafeteria and sign their child in. Most importantly, we need to collect emergency contact information from you for the time that your child is in Sibshops.

    As a courtesy to our facilitators, please be sure you arrive before the session is over. We cannot leave your child unattended to wait for you.

  • Are snacks provided?

    Yes. A snack will be provided during each session.

  • My child is not 6 yet. Can I register them for Sibshops?

    No. The Sibshops model is designed for children ages 6-13. Younger kids are not usually ready for this or would benefit as much as intended.

  • My child is older than 13. Can I sign them up for Sibshops?

    If your child is still 13 at the time of registration, he/she is welcome to attend, as long as they want to participate and understand that they will be with younger kids. 

  • Can I pay with cash or check?

    No. We use a third-party registration system, Cvent, which requires that all payments go through their secure online payment system. This system confirms and protects your payment and guarantees that we receive funds securely.

  • If I have more than one child attending Sibshops, do I have to register each child separately?

    No. The registration page has an option to add additional people. 

  • What if I need financial aid for my child to attend Sibshops?

    The fee for the session is already at a reduced cost to you, but a limited amount of funds is available as needed. Please contact Sibshops at 206-987-4133

  • Who do we thank?

    Our Sibshops are made possible by generous sponsors like JoAnne and Alan Holt, the Vorhis H. Edwards Endowment for Sibling Support and the William A. and Betty Anne Nyberg Endowment for Sibling Support; registration fees; and your generous financial support.