The early development of infant siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder: Characteristics of sibling interactions.

PLoS One. 2018;13(3):e0193367

Authors: Bontinck C, Warreyn P, Van der Paelt S, Demurie E, Roeyers H

Abstract
Although sibling interactions play an important role in children’s early development, they are rarely studied in very young children with an older brother or sister with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This study used a naturalistic, observational method to compare interactions between 18-month-old infants and their older sibling with ASD (n = 22) with a control group of 18-month-old infants and their typically developing (TD) older sibling (n = 29). In addition, role (a)symmetry and the influence of gender were evaluated. Sibling interactions in ASD-dyads were characterized by higher levels of negativity. Although somewhat less pronounced in ASD-dyads, role asymmetry was present in both groups, with the older child taking the dominant position. Finally, siblings pairs with an older sister were characterized by more positive behaviours. Since differences in sibling interactions may alter the developmental trajectories of both siblings, these early relationships should be taken into account in future ASD research and interventions.

PMID: 29543814 [PubMed – in process]

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