Am I My Brother's Keeper? Challenges for the Siblings of Autistic Children
DOI: 10.1080/15289160802683450
Title: Am I My Brother's Keeper? Challenges for the Siblings of Autistic Children
Journal Title: Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy
Volume: Volume 8
Issue: Issue 1
Publication Date: March 2009
Start Page: 49
End Page: 56
Published online: 12 Mar 2009
ISSN: 1528-9168
Affiliations:
a William Alanson White Institute
b Manhattan Institute for Psychoanalysis
c Long Island University's doctoral program in clinical psychology
Abstract: This article highlights some of the issues and challenges facing the siblings of autistic children. Sibling relationships are critical to interpersonal development. The birth of an autistic child brings issues of mourning and loss to the fore, forcing family members to readjust their fantasies, wishes, and expectations associated with “primary (maternal) preoccupation” (Winnicott, 19569. Winnicott , D. 1956/1975. “Primary maternal preoccupation.”. In Through Pediatrics to Psychoanalysis., New York: Basic Books.

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) prior to the birth of the autistic child. Siblings (and families) may respond with denial, masochistic submission, guilt, and reaction formation, among other reactions. Implications for intervention, notably in the areas of psycho-education and clear communication, are discussed.

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