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A qualitative analysis of what is it like growing up with a sibling with Autism

Helliwell, Laura (2012) A qualitative analysis of what is it like growing up with a sibling with Autism. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)


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This is a qualitative study into the perspective experiences of typically developing children’s relationships with their autistic siblings. Previous research is often inconclusive and focuses on the negative attributes of these relationships. Five children in two focus groups between the ages of 6 and 15 participated in this study. Independent interviews were carried out on the parents of the siblings to gain an understanding of their family. The study used thematic analysis to identify key emergent themes for analysis and interpretation. This research lends support against traditional views of what it is like growing up with a sibling with a disability. The analysis suggests the experiences show no significant differences in their interactions compared to ‘normal’ sibling pairs. Siblings express worries over bullying and anger but are accepting, supporting and understanding of their siblings autism and have an unconditional admiration for their sibling.

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