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Autism Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 949586, 11 pages
Research Article

Experiences of Siblings of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

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

Received 18 December 2011; Revised 17 January 2012; Accepted 30 January 2012

Academic Editor: Herbert Roeyers

Copyright © 2012 Maureen E. Angell et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.