Supporting Autism Siblings

Siblings of children with autism are in a unique position; they face overwhelming challenges (similar to those that parents encounter), but at a time before they’ve developed appropriate coping strategies. As a result, they need support to ensure that they’re informed, feel respected, and know how to be compassionate advocates for their brothers and sisters on the spectrum.

OAR’s “Autism Sibling Support” initiative is designed to guide young children, teenagers, and parents through the issues that brothers and sisters of children with autism face. To kick off the initiative, OAR has produced three resources, each with a different audience. Click here to learn more about how these resources came together, and click the titles below to view/download/print them!

ParentsBrothers, Sisters and Autism: A Parent’s Guide addresses a number of topics, such as explaining autism to your other children, and helping siblings as they deal with a wide range of tough feelings. This easy-to-use document includes a clickable directory, so parents don’t have to scroll through all of the information to find a section that’s especially relevant to what their family is currently experiencing.

TeensLife as an Autism Sibling: A Guide for Teens is a handbook for teenage (and even pre-teen) siblings, offering guidance on how to productively address the challenges that can arise from having a brother or sister with autism. The resource covers a variety of topics; from explaining autism to friends and peers, to coping with a family dynamic that’s different from what friends may experience. It also features testimonials from other teenage and young adult siblings who have “been there, done that.”

ChildrenAutism, My Sibling, and Me is a fun and engaging workbook for young children between the ages of 5 and 10.  A host of colorful cartoon characters accompany these siblings as they learn about what autism means for their brother or sister – and deal with potentially stressful issues. Through fun activities and supportive content, this resource also helps children work through any autism-related questions and concerns they may have.

Hard copies of Autism, My Sibling, and Me and Life as an Autism Sibling: A Guide for Teens are currently available.  If you’re interested in receiving a copy, you can order one by sending an e-mail to programs@researchautism.org with “Young Sibling Guide” or "Teen Sibling Guide" in the subject line.

If you have any questions, want to learn more about OAR’s “Autism Sibling Support” initiative, or have ideas about how to expand program offerings in this important area, please contact programs@researchautism.org.