Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1122–1132 | Cite as

Parent Support of Preschool Peer Relationships in Younger Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Annette EstesEmail author
  • Jeffrey Munson
  • Tanya St. John
  • Stephen R. Dager
  • Amy Rodda
  • Kelly Botteron
  • Heather Hazlett
  • Robert T. Schultz
  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
  • Joseph Piven
  • Michael J. Guralnick
  • the IBIS network
S.I. : Parenting Children with ASD


Preschool-aged siblings of children with ASD are at high-risk (HR) for ASD and related challenges, but little is known about their emerging peer competence and friendships. Parents are the main providers of peer-relationship opportunities during preschool. Understanding parental challenges supporting early peer relationships is needed for optimal peer competence and friendships in children with ASD. We describe differences in peer relationships among three groups of preschool-aged children (15 HR-ASD, 53 HR-NonASD, 40 low-risk, LR), and examine parent support activities at home and arranging community-based peer activities. Children with ASD demonstrated precursors to poor peer competence and friendship outcomes. Parents in the HR group showed resilience in many areas, but providing peer opportunities for preschool-age children with ASD demanded significant adaptations.


Autism Parent Sibling Peer relations Preschool High risk 



This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health (R01 HD055741) and grant U54 HD083091 to the University of Washington’s Center on Human Development and Disability, Autism Speaks (6020), and the Simons Foundation (140209). We wish to thank the children and parents who participated in this study. We are grateful to Jill J. Locke, PhD for her insights on the field of peer relations in ASD. The Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) Network is an NIH funded Autism Center of Excellence project and consists of a consortium of seven universities in the U.S. and Canada. Clinical Sites: University of North Carolina: J. Piven (IBIS Network PI), H.C. Hazlett, J.C. Chappell; University of Washington: S. Dager, A. Estes, D. Shaw; Washington University: K. Botteron, R. McKinstry, J. Constantino, J. Pruett; Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: R. Schultz, S. Paterson; University of Alberta: L. Zwaigenbaum; Data Coordinating Center: Montreal Neurological Institute: A.C. Evans, D.L. Collins, G.B. Pike, P. Kostopolous, S. Das; Image Processing Core: University of Utah: G. Gerig; University of North Carolina: M. Styner; Statistical Analysis Core: University of North Carolina: H. Gu; Genetics Analysis Core: University of North Carolina: P. Sullivan, F. Wright.

Author contributions

AE conceived of the study, participated in its design and coordination and drafted the manuscript; JM participated in data analysis and interpretation of the data; TSJ participated in data analysis, coordination of the study and performed the measurement; SRD participated in the design and coordination of the study and reviewed early drafts of the manuscript; AR performed the measurement and participated in conceptualizing and reviewing early manuscript drafts; KB participated in design and coordination of the study; HH participated in design and coordination of the study; RTS participated in design and coordination of the study, LZ participated in design and coordination of the study; JP participated in the design and coordination of the study; MJG participated in the design of the study and helped to conceptualize the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declares that they have no conflicts of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Annette Estes
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jeffrey Munson
    • 3
  • Tanya St. John
    • 1
  • Stephen R. Dager
    • 4
  • Amy Rodda
    • 1
  • Kelly Botteron
    • 5
  • Heather Hazlett
    • 6
  • Robert T. Schultz
    • 7
  • Lonnie Zwaigenbaum
    • 8
  • Joseph Piven
    • 6
  • Michael J. Guralnick
    • 2
  • the IBIS network
  1. 1.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of RadiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychiatryWashington UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  6. 6.Carolina Institute for Developmental DisabilitiesChapel HillUSA
  7. 7.The Center for Autism Research, Department of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital of PennsylvaniaUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  8. 8.Department of PediatricsUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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