Autism Resources Uncategorized

How to Support Siblings of a Child with Autism

BlueSprig September 16, 2020

April is Autism Acceptance and Awareness Month, the ideal time to raise awareness of all aspects of the condition, including how to support siblings of a child who has autism.

“When a child has autism, it may require a great deal of a parent’s energy, time, and focus. As a result, siblings may feel as though they are overlooked and develop other negative feelings. If these feelings are not addressed, they have the potential to fester and create significant problems for the entire family,” said Sharyn Kerr, PH.D, and Chief Clinical & Administrative Officer at BlueSprig Pediatrics, a leading provider of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy with locations across the Greater Houston area.

Kerr says it’s not uncommon for brothers and sisters of children who have autism to feel guilty because their sibling has it and they don’t. Or they may feel bad because simple tasks and concepts come much easier to them than to their siblings. In addition, if a sibling is older, they may worry about who will take care of their brother or sister with autism if something happens to their parents. If they are younger, they may be confused as to why a sibling with autism may not want to play with them or acts differently than they do.

“All of these feelings are natural. Having a child with autism affects everyone in the family, and it’s important to express those feelings in healthy ways,” said Kerr.

To help siblings of a child with autism, BlueSprig provides the following tips and suggestions:

  • It’s vital to acknowledge your child’s thoughts and feelings without placing judgment. Listen to what they have to say and allow them to be honest in expressing their emotions.
  • Carve out time to spend with your children who do not have autism. Quality, one-on-one with every member of your family is essential. Lean on trusted friends or family members to help watch your child with autism or other respite options offered in your community. Another prime opportunity is to take the sibling on a special outing while your child is receiving their treatment.
  • Find a local support group so that siblings can meet and interact with other kids going through similar experiences.
  • Ask other parents or members of your support group about books or other resources that may help your children understand autism and how it may affect a sibling.

When siblings of a child with autism are supported, research has shown that those individuals grow up to become more tolerant of people different from them and become more loyal friends. They also are often more mature and have developed skills to help them navigate challenging situations. BlueSprig’s goal is to support the entire family throughout their journey.

For more resources and ways to help siblings of children with autism, visit