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Autism Res Treat. 2012;2012:949586. doi: 10.1155/2012/949586. Epub 2012 Apr 10.

Experiences of siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

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  • 1Department of Special Education, Campus Box 5910, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-5910, USA.


The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and identify their self-reported support needs. We conducted in-person semi-structured interviews with 12 siblings aged 7 to 15 of children aged 6 to 15 with ASDs. Employing a qualitative collective case study research method, we conducted cross-case analyses to address our research questions. Three major themes emerged: (a) descriptions of the sibling subsystem (b) cohesion between and among the siblings, and (c) adaptability of the participant siblings to having family members with ASDs. Discussion of these findings and recommendations for future research contributes to the existing literature on siblings of children with disabilities.

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