Selected Resources for Understanding and Supporting Siblings
The following books, DVD’s and other resources provide a sampling of materials which describe and support the experiences of siblings of children on the autism spectrum. Selected items may be available at your local library. Most of these resources listed can be borrowed by Indiana residents from the Center for Disability Information and Referral (CeDIR) at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. You can contact CeDIR by calling 1-800-437-7924 (toll free in Indiana; voice/TTY) or 1-812-855-9396 (voice/TTY). The entire catalog of holdings is now available to view online at www.iucat.indiana.edu. Contact information to order the videos, DVD’s, booklets and workbooks listed is also provided for those who might want to purchase these items.
Books/Articles Specific to Autism Spectrum Disorders for Families
Harris, S. ((2003). Siblings of children with autism: A guide for families. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House.
Knott, F., Lewis, C., & Williams, T. (2007). Sibling interaction of children with autism: Development over 12 months. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(10), 1987-1995.
Macks, R. J., & Reeve, R. E. (2007). The adjustment of non-disabled siblings of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(6), 1060-1067.
McHugh, M. (2002). Special siblings: Growing up with someone with a disability (revised). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.
Meyer, D., & Vadasy, P. (2008). Sibshops: Workshops for siblings of children with special needs (Revised ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.
Orsmond, G. I., & Seltzer, M. M. (2007). Siblings of individuals with autism spectrum disorders across the life course. Mental retardation and developmental disabilities research reviews, 13(4), 313-320.
Powell, T., & Gallagher, P. (2006). Brothers and sisters: A special part of exceptional families (3rd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Company.
Siegel, B., & Silverstein, S. C. (1994). What about me? Growing up with a developmentally disabled sibling. New York, NY: Plenum Publishing Corporation.
Books Specific to Autism Spectrum Disorders for Siblings and Peers
Amenta, C. (1992). Russell is extra special: A book about autism for children. New York, NY: Magination Press. A story written by a father of three boys, the oldest, nine years old, is non-verbal and has autism. Real pictures are used to show and explain the relationship the boys have and how Russell perceives the world. Excellent book for ages 5 - 9.
Band, E.B. & Hecht, E. (2001). Autism through a sister’s eyes: A young girl’s view of her brother’s autism. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc. Co-author of this book is an 11 year-old girl. The story is told in her voice. This book addresses her questions about her older brother with autism. Ages 8 and up.
Bishop, B. (2002). My friend with autism. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc. This book addresses the relationship of a friend with autism. It explains areas in which he is gifted, and how other things are difficult for him. Book includes notes of discussion page by page. Great book for 5 – 12.
Bleach, F. (2001). Everybody is different: A book for young people who have brothers or sisters with autism. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. This book addresses many of the questions frequently asked by young peers. Good for all ages, it is a great book for family discussion on characteristics of autism.
Cullen, D. T. (1999). Trevor Trevor. Higganum, CT: Starfish Specialty Press. Minds change in the classroom when Trevor, who is always picked on in school for being different, finds his niche. Ages 8 - 13. Can be read by adult to class.
Dalrymple, N. (1979). Learning together. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University, Institute for the Study of Developmental Disabilities. Good for explaining basic characteristics to ages 4 - 7. It is written in the first person of a 7-year-old with autism explaining her behavior, thoughts, and feelings. It is a short booklet with sketched drawings.
Edwards, A. (2001). Taking autism to school. Plainview, NY: JayJo Books, LLC. An introduction to having a friend with autism. Book introduces basic characteristics of autism. Ages 5 - 10.
Edwards, B., & Armitage, D. (1999). My brother Sammy. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press. This book is written in the first person as the typical brother describing his younger brother’s behavior and his feelings about his brother’s differences. Good opening for parents to discuss the typical sibling’s feelings including frustrations and learning to interact despite the differences. Targets ages 5 - 8.
Ellis, M. (2005). Keisha’s doors: An autism story. Round Rock, TX: Speech Kids Texas Press. Keisha’s older sister doesn’t understand why Keisha won’t play with her. The family finds that Keisha has autism and goes to see a therapist to understand what autism means to them. English and Spanish text. Ages 6 – 12.
Ellis, M. (2005). Tacos anyone? An autism story. Round Rock, TX: Speech Kids Texas Press. Michael is a 4-year-old boy with autism. His older brother, Thomas, doesn’t understand why Michael behaves the way he does. A therapist teaches Thomas how to play with Michael, making sibling time fun again. English and Spanish text. Ages 6 – 12.
Ely, L. & Dunbar, P. (2004.) Looking after Louis. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman & Company. A book explaining an inclusive setting in the school and how the class helps Louis adapt. Ages 5 - 10.
Espin, R. (2003) Amazingly…Alphie: Understanding and accepting different ways of being. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Fictional story about a differently wired computer who has trouble fitting in successfully. He is able to shine when he meets up with a human who understands him. Good story about tolerance, acceptance, and celebrating differences for children ages 8 and up.
Fox-Luchsinger, D. (2007). Playing by the rules: A story about autism. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Shows how siblings of children with autism bridge the gap of understanding between their brothers or sisters and other people. Ages 4 – 8.
Frender, S., Schiffmiller, R., & Dittrich, D. (2007). Brotherly feelings: Me, my emotions, and my brother with Asperger’s syndrome. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Sam is 8 and his brother, Eric, is 13. Sam knows that his brother is different from him because his brain works differently. The emotions Sam experiences helps siblings of children on the autism spectrum understand that their feelings are natural and OK. Ages 8 and up.
Gagnon, E., & Myles, B. S. (1999). This is Asperger syndrome. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Using black and white cartoons this booklet offers some general information on the everyday thoughts and actions of an 8- to 12-year-old with Asperger Syndrome. Scenarios focus on home and school situations.
Gartenberg, Z. (1998). Mori’s story: A book about a boy with autism. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications Company. A true story, written through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. He shares thoughts and observations of his younger brother with autism who lives in a residential setting away from home. Colorful photos help support the story of a loving family with strong bonds. Appropriate for ages 9-12.
Ham, S., & Ham, S. (2007). My sister has autism. Coppell, TX: MindWorks Resources. Explains from a child’s point of view the struggle and unique situations faced by families who have a child on the autism spectrum. Ages 8 and up.
Healy, A. (2005). Sometimes my brother: Helping kids understand autism through a sibling's eyes. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc. A young boy explains his thoughts about his older brother who has autism. This picture book helps siblings know they are not alone. It also shares ideas for families on creating their own family book.
Hoopman, K. (2001). Blue bottle mystery: An Asperger adventure. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. A well done fantasy whose hero is Ben, a school-aged boy, just recently diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. A story for all children ages 8 and up. It portrays a positive role model that those with AS can identify with while also creatively teaching others about AS.
Hoopman, K. (2001). Of mice and aliens: An Asperger adventure. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. A science fiction sequel to Blue Bottle Mystery. The main character, Ben, and his friend, Andy, help an alien that crash lands on Earth. This adventure teaches that differences and individuality are important and interesting.
Ives, M. (2001). What is Asperger syndrome and how will it affect me? A guide for young people. Shawnee, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. A book written for teenagers with AS to understand their differences. Provides strategies and resources to cope with difficulties. Would be useful for similar aged peers or siblings to understand and support the teen with AS.
Katz, I., & Ritvo, E. (1993). Joey and Sam. Northridge, CA: Real Life Storybooks. The book begins with a mother’s poem to her child with autism. The fictional story tells about a boy and his younger brother with autism. The similarities and differences between the two illustrate the message that it is okay to be different. Targets ages 7 - 10.
Karasik, P. & Karasik, J. (2003). The ride together: A brother and sister’s memoir of autism in the family. New York, NY: Washington Square Press. A brother and sister’s account of daily life in the late 1960’s with a brother with autism. Alternating chapters of the book are written in comic strip style. Ages13 -18.
Keating-Velasco, J. (2007). A is for autism, F is for friend. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing. Provides a unique glimpse of life from the perspective of Chelsea, an 11-year-old girl, who has severe autism. Ages 10 and up.
Keating-Velasco, J. (2007). In his shoes: A short journey through autism. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing. Nicholas is a 13-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who is transitioning into middle school. Accompany Nicholas as he goes to the beach, the mall, his birthday party, a track meet, and his first school dance. Ages 11 – 15.
Lancelle, M. & Lesada, J. (2006). Sundays with Mathew: A young boy with autism and an artist share their sketchbooks. Shawnee, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. An example of art as a means of communication for an 11-year-old who has difficulty with verbal communication.
Lears, L. (1998). Ian’s walk: A story about autism. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company. This fictional story is told from the perspective of an older sister. It conveys the many and varied feelings a sibling may face. Ages 4 - 8.
Lowell, J. & Tuchel, T. (2005). My best friend Will. Shawnee, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Professional photographs help tell the story of a friendship through the eyes of the main author, who is a fifth grade girl. Resources and tips for teachers are provided at the end. Ages 6 – 12.
Maguire, A. (2000). Special people, special ways. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc. Animated book with a rhyme-style explains modifications for special needs. Ages 3 – 6.
Martin, A. (1990). The babysitters club: Kristy and the secret of Susan. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. One book in Martin’s series of books on babysitting. Kristy is introduced to a younger girl with autism and is determined to reach out to her. Ages 8 – 13.
Martin, A. (1984). Inside out. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. A look into the life of Jonno and his sister as they deal with a younger brother with autism. When their younger brother begins to attend a developmental center, changes are in store for everyone. Written in first person from perspective of an 11-year-old boy.
Messner, A. W. (1995). Captain Tommy. Stratham, NH: Potential Unlimited Publishing. Tommy learns how to reach out and communicate with a boy with autism at space camp. Ages 8 – 13.
Meyer, D., & Vadasy, P. (1996). Living with a brother or sister with special needs: A book for sibs (2nd ed.). Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. Focuses on feelings and questions brothers or sisters of a child on the autism spectrum may have. Ages 9 - 12.
Murrell, D. (2004). Oliver Onion: The onion who learns to accept and be himself. Shawnee, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Written for all 4 - 10 year-olds as a celebration of uniqueness. Colorful illustrations help depict the heartfelt message to learn to be yourself.
Murrell, D. (2001). Tobin learns to make friends. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc. Metaphorical story about a train engine learning to make friends. Illustrates the social skills of sharing, borrowing, and taking turns. Can be used to teach these skills to children on the spectrum and their peers. Ages 4 - 8.
Peralta, S. (2002). All about my brother: An eight-year-old sister’s introduction to her brother who has autism. Shawnee, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Written by an 8-year-old girl about her 7-year-old brother who has autism and is non-verbal. She describes family life with her brother and imparts insight about autism and the sibling relationship. Information and resources are provided to families by the young author’s mother at the beginning and end.
Rosenberg, M.S. (2000). Everything you need to know when a brother or sister is autistic. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. A good resource book for teens and young adults explaining characteristics and therapies. Ages 12 - 18.
Rosenberg, M.S. (2001). Coping when a brother or sister is autistic. New York, NY: Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. This book addresses many facts on autism and is designed to inform the beginning advocate sibling. Difficulties and joys as a sibling are also addressed as well as dealing with the negative feelings and curiosity of others. Ages 13 and up.
Sabin, E. (2006). The autism acceptance book: Being a friend to someone with autism. New York, NY: Watering Can Press. An activity book that teaches children 8-years-old and up about what is feels like to have autism. Information and workbook activities help build understanding and ideas to help support and be a friend to a peer with autism and/or other differences.
Simmons, K. (1997). Little rainman: Autism through the eyes of a child. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons, Inc. Written by a mom who shares her young son’s experiences through his eyes. Detailed descriptions of thoughts, behaviors, and feelings cover a variety of life experiences for a child with autism. Ages 7 - 10.
Shally, C. (2007). Since we’re friends: An autism picture book. Centerton, AR: Awaken Specialty Press. This story of two friends, one who has autism, provides practical examples of how to make such a friendship work. Ages 4 – 8.
Sprecher, J. (1997). Jeffery and the despondent dragon. Muskego, WI: Special Kids Company. Jeffrey expresses love with or without the dragon’s abilities. Ages 3 – 7.
Sullivan, C. (2001). I love my brother: A preschooler’s view of living with a brother who has autism. Stratham, NH: PHAT ART 4. A glimpse of a 4-year-old boy’s story about his 2-year-old brother with autism. Photographs and child’s colorful drawings add to this family story. Ages 3 – 6.
Thompson, M. (1992). My brother, Matthew. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. A brother’s bond can develop a strong insight and a new perspective of joy, perhaps better than the understanding of the parents. Ages 8 - 13.
Thompson, M. (1996). Andy and his yellow frisbee. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. A story about Andy’s time on the school playground spinning the Frisbee and a new girl’s attempt to interact. Ages 7 - 10.
Welton, J. (2004). Can I tell you about Asperger Syndrome? A guide for friends and family. New York, NY: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Assists in understanding difficulties faced by individuals with Asperger Syndrome. Interview-style of writing. Ages 7 - 15.
Welton, J. (2005). Adam’s alternative sports day: An Asperger story. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Adam always dreads Games Day at school. This year turned out quite different, though, as the games moved from sports to activities that could finally reveal Adam’s strengths. Ages 6 – 13.
Selected Resources for Siblings
Family Resource Associates, Inc.
35 Haddon Avenue
Shrewsbury, NJ 07701
Phone: (732) 747-5310
Quarterly newsletters: For Siblings Only (ages 4 9) and Sibling Forum (ages 10 & up).
The Sibling Support Project
Donald Meyer, Director
Sibling Support Project
A Kindering Center program
6512 23rd Ave. NW, #213
Seattle, WA 98117
206-297-6368; fax: 509-752-6789
Sibling Support Project
Being Friends (1991). VHS format: 8:08 minutes. Produced by the Indiana Resource Center for Autism and WTIU, Bloomington, IN. For use with young children and peers. Ordering Information: (812) 855-6508.
Intricate Minds III: Understanding Elementary School Classmates Who Think Differently (2006). DVD format: 17 minutes. Produced by Coulter Video, Winston Salem, NC. School-aged individuals on the spectrum share challenges and suggestions within the classroom. Ordering Information: (336) 608-4224.
Just Call Him Matthew. (1992). VHS format: 26 minutes. Produced by Mountain Productions, Albuquerque, NM. Young brothers and sisters of children with autism speak openly about their feelings and experiences. Ordering Information: (505) 291-9284.
Sense of Belonging: Including Students with Autism in their School Community. (1997). VHS format: 19:34 minutes. Produced by Indiana Resource Center for Autism, Bloomington, IN. Illustrates the value of inclusion and the importance it plays for the future of all students. Ordering Information: (812) 855-6508.
Straight Talk About Autism: Adolescent Issues. (1999). VHS format: 38 minutes. An Attainment Company Production, Verona, WI. Adolescents with autism and their parents discuss their feelings and insights about social experiences that are both rewarding and challenging. Ordering Information: (800) 327-4269.
Understanding Brothers and Sisters on the Autism Spectrum. (2007). DVD format: 94 minutes. Produced by Coulter Video, Winston-Salem, NC. Four programs for siblings of different ages from 4-years-old through adult. Each program covers several different areas of challenges and strengths along with techniques for siblings to use. Ordering information: (336) 608-4224.
Understanding Brothers and Sisters with Asperger Syndrome. (2007). DVD format: 109 minutes. Produced by Coulter Video, Winston-Salem, NC. Four programs for siblings of different ages from 4-years-old through adult. Each program covers several different areas of challenges and strengths along with techniques for siblings to use. Ordering information: (336) 608-4224.
Donlon, L. (2007). The other kid: A draw it out guidebook for kids dealing with a special needs sibling. Coral Springs, FL: Llumina Press. Ages 6 – 10. Ordering Information: (866) 229-9244 or www.theotherkid.com.
Leonard-Toomey, P. (Eds.) (1997). In our own words: Stories by brothers and sisters of children with autism and P.D.D. Fall River, MA: Community Autism Resources, Adsum, Inc. Ages 12 and up. Ordering Information: (800) 588-9239.
Meyer, D.J. (1997). Views from our shoes: Growing up with a brother or sister with special needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Ages 9 – 12. Ordering information: (800) 843-7323.
Meyer, D. (Eds.) (2005). The sibling slam book: What it's really like to have a brother or sister with special needs. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Ages 13 – 19. Ordering information: (800) 843-7323.
Shapiro, O. (2009). Autism and me: Sibling stories. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company. Ages 7 – 12. Ordering information: (800) 255-7675 or www.albertwhitman.com.
(Angelfire) Provides links to other resources.
(Association for Children with a Disability, Armadale, Victoria, Australia) On-line book for parents.
(Autism Asperger Publishing Company) Bookstore.
(AutismLink, Pennsylvania) Short article for parents.
(Autism Society of America) Article for parents.
(Autism Society of America) Booklet about young friends on the autism spectrum.
(Autism Society of America) Booklet about teen friends on the autism spectrum.
(Autism Society of America) Booklet about young friends on the autism spectrum.
(Center for Disease Control and Prevention) Kid’s Quest on Disability and Health.
(Oracle Education Foundation, Redwood Shores, California) Disabilities from an individual’s perspective.
(Society for the Treatment of Autism, Calgary, Alberta, Canada) On-line article for parents.
(Unlocking Autism) On-line resource.
Wheeler, M. & Ketzner, B. (2009). Selected resources for understanding and supporting siblings. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Resource Center for Autism.