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Autism spectrum disorders and sibling relationships: Research and strategies

by Beyer, J.F

Beyer, J. (2009). Autism spectrum disorders and sibling relationships: Research and strategies. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 44(4), 444-452.

Sparse amounts of research exist examining the impact of autism spectrum disorders on sibling relationships.  The purpose of the article is to synthesize the available literature regarding ASD and sibling relationships to analyze the factors that affect sibling relationships and the impact of having a sibling with ASD as compared to other disabilities.  The core deficit areas that characterize autism present significant challenges in the forming of satisfying relationships among siblings with ASD. The available literature reports both positive and negative relationships between individuals with ASD and their siblings and provides explanations for both types.  Strategies to enhance sibling relationships are discussed to include teaching play skills, developing coping skills, providing the non-disabled sibling private special time, and refraining from placing unnecessary emotional and physical pressure on the non-disabled sibling. Considerations for future research are discussed.

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