Autism and Sibling Relationships

A boy with autism and his brother playing with chalk together.

National Siblings Day is set aside to celebrate relationships between siblings and recall the special memories shared between family members over a lifetime. At Surpass Behavioral Health, we believe ALL siblings should have the opportunity to build and foster sibling connections. Building relationships may be more difficult for some children than for others, including some individuals with autism.  

One way to support sibling relationships for a child with autism is to incorporate sibling activities into their treatment plan. At Surpass, our Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services are designed around individual child needs and preferences, in turn creating motivation for clients and siblings to engage together in learning and play activities.  

Here are just a few examples of activities and skills that can be targeted to support sibling relationships:   

  • Taking turns 
  • Positive praise 
  • Sibling led manding (requesting) opportunities 
  • Modeling pretend and game play 
  • Completing puzzles or other common goal activities together
  • Building with blocks, playing with Play-Doh, or playing with other toy items that can involve shared materials 

A second way to support siblings of children with autism is to educate them and help them understand autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers have found that when there is a good understanding of a sibling’s disability, it is more likely there will be a positive sibling relationship. In addition, siblings were reported to have higher self-acceptance, increased social competence, greater admiration for their siblings, and less sibling competition when they have a better understanding of the challenges and struggles their sibling may be facing. 

There are many ways to support relationships between those on the autism spectrum and their siblings. For more ideas to incorporate a sibling into your child’s ABA therapy, speak with your child’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  


At Surpass Behavioral Health, we are passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of our clients and families. Our focus is quality care that you can trust. We believe in our clients’ ability to achieve their goals and we want to celebrate each win together. Our mission is for our clients to be successful across a variety of settings and provide support to our families.  

Learn more about our services or find a clinic near you.

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