STEPS: AN INNOVATIVE THERAPEUTIC-EDUCATIONAL APPROACH SUPPORTING SIBLINGS OF CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
Masaryk University, Faculty of Arts (CZECH REPUBLIC)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Sibling relationship is one of the longest and most intensive relationships in our lives (Cicirelli, 1995). Life with a sibling with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with confrontation, balancing and coping with problems and difficulties brought by this difficulty (Smith & Perry, 2005). Siblings of children with ASD experience similar stressful situations and tension as their parents and care for the siblings on a daily basis. The presence of the disease in family system can have a number of negative impacts on them, such as difficulties in adaptation, problem behavior and decrease in overall quality of life (Sharpe, 2002).
Even though siblings express the desire to obtain information and understand the brother’s/sister’s disability (Dyson, 1998), professionals focus mainly on supporting the parents while the siblings gain much less attention. (Naylor & Prescott, 2004).
One of the intervention possibilities that could be easily implemented into leisure time curriculum activities of any special needs school, focusing on siblings of children with disabilities, are group therapeutic-educational programs; however, this kind of programs is not very widespread in EU and is only beginning to be implemented.
Our team had created, implemented and evaluated the STEPS program. STEPS is a 10 session (2 hours/week; 6-10 children; 7-11 years; co-educated group) group therapeutic-educational program for siblings of children with ASD. It is focused on enhancing knowledge about ASD, coping skills training, providing of safe environment to express feelings, peer support, place to relax, having fun and strengthening of self-esteem.
The aim of this contribution is to present organization, content and outputs of a pilot study of the first conducted STEPS group. Specifically, we would like to present the results of changes in domains of knowledge about ASD, sibling relationship, behavioral and emotional difficulties, self-esteem and quality of life before and after the program, perceived by siblings and their parents. The systematic feedback of participants and their parents will also be presented.
 Cicirelli, V. G. (1995). Sibling relationships across the lifespan. New York: Plenum. New York: Plenum.
 Dyson, L. L. (1998). A support program for siblings of children with disabilities: What siblings learn and what they like. Psychology in the schools, 1(35), stránky 57-65.
 Naylor, A., & Prescott, P. (2004). Invisible children? The need for support groups for siblings of disabled children. British Journal of Special Education, 31(4).
 Sharpe, D. (2002). Siblings of Children With a Chronic Illness: A Meta Analysis. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 8(27), stránky 699-710.
 Smith, T., & Perry, A. (2005). A sibling support group for brothers ans sisters of children with autism. Journal of developmental disabilities, 1(11), stránky 77-88.
 Tudor, M. E., & Lerner, M. D. (2014). Intervention and Support for Siblings of Youth with Developmental Disabilities: A Systematic Review. Clinical child and Family psychology review.
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorders, siblings, education, therapy.