Selected Resources for Understanding and Supporting Siblings
Contributed by Marci Wheeler, MSW and
Natalie Bengert, Graduate Student, Indiana Resource Center for Autism
The following books, DVD’s and other resources provide a sampling of materials that describe and support the experiences of siblings of individuals on the autism spectrum. Selected items may be available at your local library. Most of these listed resources can be borrowed by Indiana residents from The Library at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. You can contact the library by calling (800) 437-7924 (toll free in Indiana) or (812) 855-9396, or email at email@example.com. The entire catalog of holdings is now available to view online at www.iucat.indiana.edu. Contact information to order, some of 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
Feiges, L. S. & Weiss, M.J. (2004). Sibling stories: Reflections on life with a brother or sister on the autism spectrum. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
Ferraioli, S. J., & Harris, S. (2009). The impact of autism on siblings. Social Work in Mental Health, 8, 41–53.
Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois. (2013). Siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders. The Arc Autism Now.
Harris, S. & Glasberg, B. (2012). 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.
L. Green. (2013). The well-being of siblings of individuals with autism. International Scholarly Research Notes Neurology, p. 2013
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.
Meadan, H., Halle, J. W., & Ebata, A. T. (2010). Families with children who have autism spectrum disorders: Stress and support. Exceptional children, 77(1), 7-36.
Naseef, Robert. (2012). Autism in the family: Caring and coping together. 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.
Tsao, L. L., Davenport, R., & Schmiege, C. (2012). Supporting siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders. Early Childhood Education Journal, 40(1), 47-54.
Books Specific to Autism Spectrum Disorders for Siblings and Peers
Amenta, C. (2011). Russell’s world: A story for kids about autism. New York, NY: Magination Press. Stories and photographs from a real-life family about what Russell (a boy with autism) and his family experience. Ages 5-8.
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. & Bishop, C. (2011). My friend with autism: Enhanced edition. 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. Ages 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.
Cain, B. (2012). Autism, the invisible cord: A sibling’s diary. New York, NY: Magination Press. Fictional story about a teenage girl writing her day-to-day experiences with her brother. Ages 12-15.
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.
DeMonia, L. (2012). Leah’s voice. San Antonio, TX: Halo Publishing International. Fictional story about the importance of accepting others and inclusion. Ages 6-8.
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. (2012). My brother Sammy is special. New York, NY: Sky Pony 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. 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.
Farmer, B. & Farmer, M. (2017). What about me? A book by and for an autism sibling. Farmer Publishing. A day-to-day to look at the joys, struggles, and emotions siblings face. Ages 4-8.
Feiges, L. S. & Weiss, M.J. (2004). Sibling stories: Reflections on life what a brother or sister on the autism spectrum. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company. Firsthand accounts of issues of concern for typical siblings. Includes 20 sibling stories which are very diverse. Ages of sibling contributors ranges from 9 to adults in their 40’s and 50’s
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 okay. 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.
Gaynor, K. (2009). A friend like Simon. Dublin, Ireland: Special Stories Publishing. Picture book encouraging children to be patient with those that are different. Also has a focus on the positive contributions a child with autism can make.
Greenfeld, K. (2010). Boy alone: A brother's memoir. New York, New York: Harper Collins. Memoir detailing what it was like growing up with a brother diagnosed with autism.
Haddon, M. (2003). The curious incident of the dog in the night-time: A novel. New York, NY: Doubleplay Publishing. A novel written from the perspective of 15-year-old Christopher (a boy with autism), who is accused of murdering the neighbor’s dog. Christopher decides to track down the real killer.
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.
Heiman, H. (2007). Running on Dreams. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing. Story of discovery and friendship for two middle school boys, one of which is diagnosed with ASD.
Hoopman, K. (2015). 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. (2017). Lisa and the lacemaker: An Asperger adventure. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. The third book in the An Asperger Adventure series. This book follows Lisa whose aunt teaches her the art of lace making. Along the way, Lisa begins to understand her own Asperger Syndrome. Ages 9-12.
Johnson, J. B., & Van Rensselaer, A. (2010). Siblings: The autism spectrum through our eyes. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Sibling accounts of what it was like to be the “neurotypical one” of the family.
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.
Kimmelman, L. (2017). We’re amazing 1, 2, 3! New York, New York: Golden Books. A Sesame Street book teaching children that although those with autism have some differences, they have a lot in common with everyone else too. Ages 3-7.
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.
Meyer, D., & Holl, E. (2014). The sibling survival guide: Indispensable information for brothers and sisters of adults with disabilities. Bethesda, MD: Woodbine House. Great for teenagers-adults. This book addresses the top concerns identified by siblings.
Mills, B., & Cumberland, D. (2010). Siblings and autism: Stories spanning generations and cultures. Pittsburgh, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Personal accounts of what it’s like growing up with a sibling on the spectrum.
Moore-Mallinos, J. (2008). My brother is autistic. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series. This picture book teaches siblings how to help their sibling with autism and to relate with them better. Ages 6-9.
Murrell, D. (2017). 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.
Niekerk, C. & Venter, L. (2008). Understanding Sam and Asperger syndrome. Erie, PA: Skeezel Press. Helps children understand why their siblings are different. Ages 5-7.
Peete, H. R., & Peete, R. (2016). My brother Charlie. New York, NY: Scholastic Inc. Picture book for ages 4-9 about love, patience, acceptance and appreciation of a sibling with autism.
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 at the beginning and end to families by the young author’s mother.
Pope, A. (2010). My brother autism and me. Xlibris Corporation. Picture book through the eyes of a sibling designed to help children see that what they are feeling is normal.
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.
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.
Shapiro, O. (2009). Autism and me: Sibling stories. Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman and Company. Essays written by siblings about living with a sibling with autism. Ages 8-11.
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.
Thomas, P. (2014). I see things differently: A first look at autism. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Series. A great book to help children better understand and support classmates and siblings with Autism.
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.
Tourville, A. (2010). My friend has autism. Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books. Picture book for young children about the friendship of two boys, one of which has autism. Ages 5-8.
Welton, J. (2014). 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
Siblings of Autism
40 West St., Annapolis, MD 21401
Scholarships, respite funds, and outreach programs for siblings.
The Sibling Support Project
Donald Meyer, Director
Sibling Support Project
A Kindering Center program
6512 23rd Ave. NW, #213
Seattle, WA 98117
Books, online groups, workshops, Sibshop peer support group, training and support. Sibshops are fun and supportive activity groups for siblings of children with all special needs. Sibshops are offered nationwide facilitated by individuals trained by the Sibling Support Project. Online directory of registered Sibshops provided on website.
Alone in a Crowded Room. (2014). DVD format: 56 minutes. Produced by Films for the Humanities & Sciences, New York, NY. Ordering Information: (812) 855-9396. Profiles the lives of four adults on the autism spectrum: helpful for adult siblings.
Choosing to be a GFF: Good Friend Forever. (2011). DVD format: 17 minutes. Produced by Good Friend, Inc., Waukesha, WI. Specifically for children in middle school. Ordering Information: (812) 855-9396.
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.
Sensory Overload. (2008). DVD format: 25 minutes. Produced by the Indiana University Department of Telecommunications, Bloomington, IN. Personal stories from parents and siblings to educate on Autism. Ordering Information: (812) 855-9396.
Siblings of Autism: The Challenge & the Hope. (2013). DVD format: 30 minutes. Produced by Listen 2 Kids Productions. Siblings offer their perspective on having a sibling with ASD. Ordering Information: (812) 855-9396.
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.
Understanding My Friends with Autism. (2012). Produced by Autism Atlas, Pittsburgh, PA. Interactive video to help children understand why kids with Autism act the way they do. Best for children ages 5-10. Ordering Information: (812) 855-9396.
Association for Children with a Disability. (2013). Growing together: A parent guide to supporting siblings of children with a disability. Retrieved from http://acd.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/ACD-resource-Growing-Together-1st-edition-2011-ENGLISH-PDF-3.4MB.pdf.
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.
Laverick-Brown, L., & Stanek, J. (2014). Autism, my sibling, and me. Retrieved from https://researchautism.org/resources/autism-my-sibling-and-me/.
Laverick-Brown, L., & Stanek, J. (2014). Brothers, sisters, and autism: A Parent’s Guide. Retrieved from https://researchautism.org/resources/brothers-sisters-and-autism-a-parents-guide.
Laverick-Brown, L., & Stanek, J. (2014). Life as an autism sibling: A guide for teens. Retrieved from https://researchautism.org/resources/life-as-an-autism-sibling-a-guide-for-teens/.
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.
Tucker, S. (2017). Autism in my family: A journal for siblings of children with ASD. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. For ages 8-12.
Association for Children with a Disability
Nationwide directory for sibling support group information.
General information on coping, explaining, and sources of stress for siblings.
What is means for your sibling to have autism.
Jessica Kingsley Publishing
Organization for Autism Research
Three booklets available to download and/or by request as a free hard copy.
Wheeler, M. (2018). Selected resources for understanding and supporting siblings. The Reporter Vol 22 (7). Retrieved from https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/selected-resources-for-understanding-and-supporting-siblings-2.