Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)

Department

Kinesiology

Faculty/School

Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr. Paula Fletcher

Advisor Role

Supervisor

Second Advisor

Dr. Margaret Schneider

Advisor Role

Supervisor

Abstract

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are the most prevalent neurological and severe developmental disorder affecting 1 in 88 Canadians, reflecting a 78% increase over the last 6 years (Autism Speaks Canada, 2013). ASD is a lifelong disorder which requires a tremendous amount of support and caregiving from family members. As a result, siblings may have unique experiences associated with having a sibling with ASD. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of adult siblings of individuals with ASD. The study employed a qualitative methodology, more specifically phenomenology (Patton, 2002). One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 participants (7 females and 3 males). The following themes emerged: (1) The insights of having a sibling with ASD; (2) It gets better with time; (3) Taking the good with the bad; and (4) A glimpse into the future. However, the themes mentioned only applied to nine of the ten participants, as they shared very similar experiences. After analyzing the data, I concluded that having a sibling with ASD undoubtedly had an effect on the neurotypical sibling. For example, nine of my participants conveyed that their relationships with their siblings with ASD had become stronger in recent years. Additionally, all of my participants discussed their siblings’ futures throughout their interview. It is anticipated that the insights conveyed by all of my participants can provide support for other siblings of individuals with ASD and ensure siblings of individuals with ASD know that they are not alone in their lived experiences.

Convocation Year

2014

Convocation Season

Fall

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