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Sibling Support

Being a sibling of a person with autism can be a positive experience. Many siblings have a good relationship with their autistic brother or sister, and lots of siblings say that learning to see the world through the eyes of their sibling has taught them to appreciate difference.

However, having a person with autism in your family has an impact on everyone. Younger people who have a sibling with autism might experience a lack of privacy, disruption of their home life and even a feeling of resentment that the whole focus of the family is always on the person with autism. Some young people might face negative attitudes from their peers.

Older siblings may worry about whether they are going to have to look after their brother or sister when their parents are no longer able to do so, and what support they might receive.

Supporting siblings

When possible:

  • make time for siblings
  • do some activities separately
  • allow siblings to have time to themselves, eg a sleepover at a friend’s home
  • allow siblings to bring their own friends home sometimes and enjoy themselves without interruption
  • listen to their worries and concerns and the things that are important to them
  • listen to their ideas – older children may have good ideas about how best to manage certain situations. They may be able to ask their sibling to do things that you can’t.