Upcoming events


The Spectrum Experience and Supporting Siblings

  • Thursday, May 20, 2021
  • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Online via Zoom
  • 78

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  • TSE and Supporting Siblings
  • TSE & Supporting Siblings

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Event Description: 

In "The Spectrum Experience and Supporting Siblings" the presenters will discuss some common needs and experiences of siblings of people with autism during each life stage (early childhood, school age, teen years, adulthood, and aging years). They will share information from their personal family experiences, as well as observations from many years of supporting other siblings and families impacted by autism and other disabilities. They will also provide suggested strategies and resources for siblings and family members across the lifespan.

Panelists will be talking openly and honestly about the challenges and hard feelings that siblings may face as a result of growing up with a sibling with autism. This might be triggering or hard for an autistic adult to listen to. Panelists will talk about these things in a sensitive and respectful way, but we want you to be aware that some of the feelings or instances will be discussed might be hard to hear.

Tonya Bowman is the Statewide Family Resource Specialist for Family Voices of Tennessee. She is the mother of three, 1 girl and 2 boys. Two of her children have special healthcare needs. Tonya loves working alongside other people who are passionate about serving children and families.  She utilizes her voice to share the parent perspective across various councils, committees and boards. Tonya and family live in Nashville TN.

Emma Shouse Garton lives in Nashville, TN and works as a Public Information Specialist for the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities, helping lead communications and outreach efforts. She also coordinates the Tennessee Adult Brothers and Sisters (“TABS”) statewide sibling support network, launched by the Council and Vanderbilt Kennedy Center over a decade ago. TABS is the state chapter of the national Sibling Leadership Network. Emma’s close family includes her husband T.J. and their 3 pet bunnies, her parents, and twin younger brothers (Evan and Brendan), who are 25 years old. Evan has autism, other disability and mental health labels, and significant communication challenges. He lives in his own apartment in Franklin, TN with help from support staff. Emma graduated from Belmont University with degrees in social work and sociology. She is passionate about finding ways for people like her brother, who rarely communicate with speech or words, to have their “voices heard”, as well as increasing support for siblings of people with disabilities.


Workshop Goal(s): 

Participants will receive suggestions for strategies and resources for siblings and family members across the lifespan.

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