Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 685–696 | Cite as

Sibling Involvement in Interventions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Systematic Review

Original Paper


Many researchers have studied various interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Occasionally, siblings will be included in intervention studies, participating in programs designed to address a number of challenges faced by individuals with ASD. Although sibling involvement in such interventions is not a new phenomenon, there is no consistent method for including siblings in treatment for individuals with ASD. The purpose of this article is to review the existing literature describing sibling involvement in interventions among families of children with ASD, describing patterns of research and targeted outcomes. The authors also identify gaps and areas for future consideration from researchers, clinicians, and families.


Siblings Autism spectrum disorder Intervention Review 


  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). DSM 5. American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  2. Baio, J. (2014). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 Sites, United States, 2010. Center for Disease Control and Prevention Surveillance Summaries, 63, 1–24.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, M. J. (2000). Incorporating the thematic ritualistic behaviors of children with autism into games increasing social play interactions with siblings. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 2(2), 66–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barak-Levy, Y., Goldstein, E., & Weinstock, M. (2010). Adjustment characteristics of healthy siblings of children with autism. Journal of Family Studies, 16(2), 155–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carter, E. W., Cushing, L. S., & Kennedy, C. H. (2008). Peer support strategies for improving all students’ social lives and learning. Baltimore, MD: Paul H Brookes Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  6. Castorina, L. L., & Negri, L. M. (2011). The inclusion of siblings in social skills training groups for boys with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(1), 73–81.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Celiberti, D. A., & Harris, S. L. (1993). Behavioral intervention for siblings of children with autism: A focus on skills to enhance play. Behavior Therapy, 24(4), 573–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chan, J. M., Lang, R., Rispoli, M., O’Reilly, M., Sigafoos, J., & Cole, H. (2009). Use of peer-mediated interventions in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 3(4), 876–889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cicirelli, V. G. (1994). The longest bond: The sibling life cycle. In L. L’Abate (Ed.), Handbook of developmental family psychology and psychopathology (pp. 44–59). Oxford, England: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, M. L., Cunningham, L. J., & Cunningham, C. E. (1989). Improving the social behavior of siblings of autistic children using a group problem solving approach. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 11(1), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coe, D. A., Matson, J. L., Craigie, C. J., & Gossen, M. A. (1991). Play skills of autistic children: Assessment and instruction. Child & Family Behavior Therapy, 13(3), 13–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Colletti, G., & Harris, S. L. (1977). Behavior modification in the home: Siblings as behavior modifiers, parents as observers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 5(1), 21–30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. D’Arcy, F., Flynn, J., McCarthy, Y., O’Connor, C., & Tierney, E. (2005). Sibshops An evaluation of an interagency model. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities, 9(1), 43–57.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Ferraioli, S. J., Hansford, A., & Harris, S. L. (2012). Benefits of including siblings in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 19(3), 413–422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ferraioli, S. J., & Harris, S. L. (2011). Teaching joint attention to children with autism through a sibling-mediated behavioral intervention. Behavioral Interventions, 26(4), 261–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fettig, A. (2013). Peer-mediated instruction and intervention (PMI) fact sheet. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders.Google Scholar
  17. Hall, L. (2009). Autism spectrum disorders: From theory to practice. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  18. Hannah, M. E., & Midlarsky, E. (2005). Helping by siblings of children with mental retardation. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 110(2), 87–99.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Jones, C. D., & Schwartz, I. S. (2004). Siblings, peers, and adults differential effects of models for children with autism. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 24(4), 187–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Odom, S. L., Collet-Klingenberg, L., Rogers, S. J., & Hatton, D. D. (2010). Evidence-based practices in interventions for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders. Preventing School Failure, 54, 275–282. doi:10.1080/10459881003785506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Oppenheim-Leaf, M. L., Leaf, J. B., Dozier, C., Sheldon, J. B., & Sherman, J. A. (2012). Teaching typically developing children to promote social play with their siblings with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 6(2), 777–791.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pan, C. Y. (2011). The efficacy of an aquatic program on physical fitness and aquatic skills in children with and without autism spectrum disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5(1), 657–665.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rayner, C. (2011a). Sibling and adult video modelling to teach a student with autism: Imitation skills and intervention suitability. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 14(6), 331–338.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Rayner, C. (2011b). Teaching students with autism to tie a shoelace knot using video prompting and backward chaining. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 14(6), 339–347.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Reagon, K. A., Higbee, T. S., & Endicott, K. (2006). Teaching pretend play skills to a student with autism using video modeling with a sibling as model and play partner. Education and Treatment of Children, 25, 517.Google Scholar
  26. Schreibman, L., O’Neill, R. E., & Koegel, R. L. (1983). Behavioral training for siblings of autistic children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 16(2), 129–138.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Sperry, L., Neitzel, J., & Engelhardt-Wells, K. (2010). Peer-mediated instruction and intervention strategies for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Preventing School Failure, 54, 256–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Taylor, B. A., Levin, L., & Jasper, S. (1999). Increasing play-related statements in children with autism toward their siblings: Effects of video modeling. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 11(3), 253–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Tsao, L. L., & Odom, S. L. (2006). Sibling-mediated social interaction intervention for young children with autism. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 26(2), 106–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Walton, K. M., & Ingersoll, B. R. (2012). Evaluation of a sibling-mediated imitation intervention for young children with autism. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 14(4), 241–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Wong, C., Odom, S. L., Hume, K. Cox, A. W., Fettig, A., Kucharczyk, S., et al. (2013). Evidence-based practices for children, youth, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Autism Evidence-Based Practice Review Group.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special EducationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

Personalised recommendations