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01-04-2015 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2015

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2015

Sibling Relationships of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Context of Everyday Life and a Strength-Based Program

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2015
Auteurs:
Marissa L. Diener, Laura Anderson, Cheryl A. Wright, M. Louise Dunn

Abstract

This research examined mothers’ and sisters’ perceptions of sibling relationships in families with a brother with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the context of a strengths-based, family-focused 3D technology program designed for youth on the spectrum. Seven sisters and six mothers participated in semi-structured interviews, which were coded for emergent themes. Both similarities and differences between sisters’ and mothers’ perceptions of the sibling relationship emerged from the narratives. Sisters and mothers framed the sibling relationship differently within the context of everyday life activities compared to the context of their brother’s involvement in the technology program that highlighted his skills and abilities. Within the context of everyday life, sisters described the dual nature of their relationships, involving both positive and negative qualities, whereas mothers focused on the challenges in the sibling relationship. Both mothers and sisters identified the “sister” role in the sibling relationship as that of a nurturer. Within the context of the technology program, mothers and sisters both perceived the boys’ roles as shifting positively relative to the context of everyday life. Sisters spoke of a sense of pride in their brother’s accomplishments in 3D design, whereas mothers spoke about their children being more engaged with one another because of their shared interests in the program. We discuss implications for interventions with families with a child with ASD.

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