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SWAN siblings

It’s not easy having a SWAN sibling. SWAN children can require a lot of time and attention. It’s not unusual for siblings to feel left out and frustrated.

Siblings can feel:

  • Isolated and unable to share their experiences and feelings.
  • Angry and ashamed. Siblings can feel  jealous or resentful, burdened with extra responsibilities, embarrassed by their sibling’s behaviour or appearance and guilty about these feelings.
  • Sad and confused. This can include feeling fearful about their sibling’s condition. They may wonder: Will my sibling get better? Are they going to die? Why is this happening?

Below you will find information, resources and guidelines to help you. In addition, our siblings information sheet offers an overview of useful information. An Easy English version of this information sheet  is also available.

Guidance on supporting a SWAN sibling


Strategies to help a SWAN sibling

  • Make an effort to spend one-on-one time with your child and encourage them to express their feelings.
  • Give them information about their sibling’s different needs.
  • Teach them coping strategies and encourage them to seek social support.
  • Don’t burden them with too much responsibility.

You may find listening to this siblings workshop provides you with some helpful tips on supporting your child. It features Marie Deni, an experienced siblings group leader. Marie provides valuable strategies you can use to support your child or children who don’t have disabilities. Lucy Scott joins the discussion and adds her perspective on growing up with a brother with a disability and how it impacted her. This workshop was a part of our Meet the Experts Series. Find out about upcoming expert presentations or workshops on our events calendar, or by signing up to our newsletter.

Access Supports

In Victoria, we are running a Siblings’ program. We hope to expand this to other states soon. You can find out more about the program by emailing SWAN at:

The SWAN siblings program addresses a range of social and emotional needs. It is designed to teach siblings coping strategies and build their resilience. Facilitated by a school teacher, it is offered in two age ranges:

  • A younger group caters for children in Prep school up to grade 3.
  • An older group is for children in grades 4-6.

This program helps siblings develop healthy behaviours and positive emotions. It can help siblings grow and flourish in response to the challenges they may face having a sibling with disability or a chronic illness.

SWAN Siblings Ambassador

Hi Parents/Carers and (of course) all the awesome SWAN Siblings 

I’m Josh Patrick, the new SWAN Sibs Ambassador. I’m super excited and honoured to have been given the opportunity to support other young people who, like me, have a sibling with an undiagnosed or extremely rare condition. My SWAN sibling is my 8 year-old sister, Charlotte, whom I absolutely love. She needs a LOT of medical care and constant supervision though and being her brother and carer can get a bit full-on at times.

I am fully committed to being available to chat with siblings about anything from siblings’ interests, school, friends, life in general, or provide an understanding and empathetic ear if things are challenging or particularly intense medically with your SWAN hero at a specific time! Please feel free to email me at any time you want or need to chat….and join us on our monthly Zoom chats (for as long or as short a time as you can spare) and connect with myself and other SWAN Sibs! Sometimes it helps to reach out to someone (or many peers) who genuinely get what you’re going through! We have two groups (a primary and secondary school-aged group).

Siblings books and films

There are a number of books and videos which may be helpful to you when supporting siblings:

Siblings Australia has a wonderful list of books for siblings on their website:

Your other children

SWAN children have lots of needs.
Your other children have needs too.
We other children may

· feel scared

· feel ashamed

· worry.

 Your other children may also feel

· angry

· alone

· sad.


You can help your other child. Like

· spend time with this child too

· listen to them

· help them express how they feel

· give them information they ask for.

· find a group they want to go to.

More information

Call     0404  280  441


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