Siblings of people with autism : the experiences of the non-autistic sibling

Laura Elizabeth McNamara
Research shows that the relationships people have with their siblings have significant influence on their lives. This applies to sibling groupings of all sizes and constellations including ones where a sibling has a disability. The focus of this research is on the typically-developing siblings of persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Historically research on the siblings of people with ASD has focused on the impressions and evaluations of parents and teachers or used quantitative
more » ... hes to evaluate their experiences. This has left a gap regarding the stories of people with siblings who have ASD. The purpose of this study is to explore the experiences of having a sibling with ASD on a person's life from a qualitative descriptive approach. Semi-structured interviews with five participants illuminate the experience of growing up with a sibling with ASD. The participants described experiencing relational closeness and contrasting distance, differential treatment, and specific roles like caregiver and teacher. Several themes emerged from participant stories including "a sense of normalcy", difficulty, and feelings of loneliness, depression, anger, resentment, guilt, and fear.
doi:10.14288/1.0073285 fatcat:5ckzeh5idfehrdrqfrigpkvkiu