Social and Emotional Support for Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Date of Award


Degree Name

Specialist in Education (Ed.S.)


Department of Counselor Education and Human Services


Advisor: Susan Davies


Siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) frequently experience a higher level of social-emotional issues when compared to siblings of typically developing children. This study examined data gathered from individual interviews with siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Participants described social and emotional issues that arose from living with an individual on the autism spectrum, what systems of support they accessed and benefitted from, and barriers to competent family-centered care. In exploring the social and emotional issues faced by siblings of individuals with ASD, analysis of the interview transcripts revealed five broad themes: anxiety/stress, depression, guilt, isolation, and anger/resentment. Exploration of the variables that influence these social and emotional issues (systems of support and barriers) reveal themes related to factors at school, factors at home, and factors within the community. Recommendations and implications for practice are provided for school personnel to support siblings of students on the autism spectrum.


Social Psychology

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