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Enhancing Sibling Relationships for Children with Autism

Enhancing Sibling Relationships for Children with Autism
May 21, 2012
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 Communication Access Realtime Translation is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.

This text-based course is a transcript of the seminar, “Enhancing Sibling Relationships for Children with Autism” presented by Kathleen J. Abendroth, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.

>> Amy Hansen:  Welcome to today's expert seminar, “Enhancing Sibling Relationships for Children with Autism” presented by Kathleen Abendroth.  Kathleen is an Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.  She specializes in the area of child language including developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders and literacy development.  She previously worked as an SLP in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System and currently supervises student clinicians in the Southeastern Louisiana University Speech‑Language-Hearing Clinic.  Dr. Abendroth is an active member of ASHA and the Louisiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association.  Welcome, Kathleen, thank you so much for joining us today.

>> Dr. Abendroth:  Thank you, Amy.  Well, welcome to everyone.  This is an area that I'm really passionate about.  We are going to be talking about individuals who spend a lot of time with our clients with autism and those are the siblings of children with autism.  My own passion for autism has really been a wider interest in the whole family unit and particularly siblings.  These are children that might grow up in our waiting rooms at the clinic and they might know the child with autism better than we know them. So, my hope is that this presentation will give you some information about research that has been done on siblings and will encourage you to think of ways to incorporate siblings into your language therapy if you are not already doing so. 

Just a note, if there are any references I mention in passing that are not listed on the handout please feel free to e‑mail me: kathleen.abendroth.slu.edu.  

Objectives

I would like to give you information that might encourage you to include siblings in your therapy program and give you some good strategies that you can use not only with siblings but also with peers of children with autism or other family members. 

When we talk about working with family members of children with autism in therapy, it's important to start from the same philosophical foundation so I am going to spend a few minutes talking about social constructivism and how that ties into family‑centered therapy which ASHA advocates for in early intervention.  Then, we are going to move into sibling interactions.  I'm going to discuss some research on sibling relationships, factors that correlate to positive sibling interactions and some strategies for including siblings in therapy; which is sometimes easier said than done depending on your context. 

I have to say I am a bit humbled as I discuss with you how to foster sibling interactions when I have two kids who are like ships passing in the night.  I felt as if I had more expertise before I had kids of my own.  Now that I have children I realize that we are talking about are ideals and we are not going to have those extremely positive interactions that we want to see all the time.  Nevertheless, I will share some strategies that you can incorporate into your own therapy paradigms. 

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