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One evening in March 97, we were just a small group of 6 or 7 young men and women and we met at a friend's place. We went on for hours talking about ourselves, our experiences, our families and, you know how it happens, gradually we realised how similar we were, even if different. You may ask what is so special about some people meeting after dinner and drinking good wine and eating snacks. Actually nothing if it wasn't for the fact that that night we hardly knew each other, we didn't even know our hostess who had organised the meeting, but above all each of us had a brother or sister with Down's Syndrome (DS)!



Marco e Anna

 

In that very first meeting we told each other such intimate things that none of us had even confided to his/her best friend, his/her parents and may be neither to him/herself. We found out that our hostess friend, Dr. Anna Zambon, had organised what is technically called a “self-help group”, a free and informal meeting in which each of us has the opportunity to tell what it means to have a brother or a sister with DS, how much this situation has influenced our life, our choices (also professional), our personal relationships and how much it will affect our life when our parents are no longer here.
During these last few years, the number of meetings and participants has considerably risen and all of us have understood the deep difference of our role in respect to that of our parents, as brothers and sisters of people with DS. We are aware now of our different approach towards the Syndrome and of our unique bond of affection with our disabled brothers and sisters.
Realising such a “difference” urged us to create the Sibling Group. This is not an association, but a spontaneous group, with no intermediation from parents, associations or from official bodies in general.
Two years ago we started a mailing list to keep in touch with each other and to give each other information and advice. Everyone is welcome to join us whenever in need, without having to participate in all of our initiatives. Creating a self-run and independent virtual space, in which all siblings can talk about themselves, either about DS or not, it has been for us like reaching a huge emotional target in our lives.
Recently, we have even started to spread the knowledge of our experience to all those bodies involved in DS in Italy, including official organisations such as the AIPD (Italian Down’s Syndrome Association).

Today, this web site represents the last step of a way that led us to the conviction that we brothers and sisters must be considered active partners in the global dynamics of DS taking into account that, at the end of the day, we will be living the longest with our disabled brothers and sisters.
We hope that even you, one day, will want to talk about your brother or sister with people who in spite of the fact that they don’t know you personally know exactly what you are talking about.

The Italian Sibling Group

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