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New Group Starts In Mamaroneck For Siblings Of Children With Special Needs

Meryl Schaffer, left, and Jo Chess, right, of "The Sibling's Voice."
Meryl Schaffer, left, and Jo Chess, right, of "The Sibling's Voice." Photo Credit: Submitted

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Being the sister or brother of a child with disabilities brings its own challenges. Which is why longtime therapists Jo Chess and Meryl Schaffer, despite retiring from the Mamaroneck school district a few years ago, are still working " The Sibling's Voice," a project they started in 1996 as a way to get children, adolescents and young adults talking, writing and thinking about their lives as brothers and sisters of children with special needs.

Over the last several years, the two women -- Schaffer is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked extensively with families of children with special needs; Chess is a certified school psychologist with 30 years experience who is also a mother of a severely disabled daughter -- have interviewed dozens of siblings, produced a film from their interviews, facilitated sibling groups and presented to parent and professional audiences.

Through their work, they've learned that having a chance to spend time with other siblings who have similar family issues is a very helpful and positive experience.

"The Sibling's Voice" continues at the Larchmont Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center (LMCC) with a new group starting May 12.

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