Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Susan Kabot

Committee Member

Christine Reeves


Autism, Autism Education, Family Systems, Sibling Dynamics


This applied dissertation was designed to better understand the experience of having a sibling with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Research has historically focused primarily on parents of individuals with ASD and their perceptions of how siblings were impacted; however, there was a lack of adequate research where information was obtained from conducting interviews with the siblings themselves.

The researcher conducted a qualitative study with 10 neurotypical siblings, ages 10 to 17, of individuals with ASD. These siblings were interviewed to explore their individual experiences and perceptions about areas in which they found and needed support. The researcher also utilized demographic and disposition information provided by the parents of the child participants to support data collection.

An analysis of the data revealed that siblings of individuals with ASD are willing and eager to be heard and that their unique stories, experiences, and perspectives provide essential information into understanding their lived experiences and needs for support. This study demonstrated that the experience of having a sibling with ASD results in both positive and negative aspects. This study suggested that clinicians and therapists in the field of ASD, family counselors, and school district professionals must aim better to understand the specific support needs of siblings of individuals with ASD, as well as the unique experiences they encounter, and continue to include them in conversations that inform practice and interventions.