Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2016

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Occupational Therapy

Program or Major

Occupational Therapy

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


As the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to increase, research efforts have begun to focus on the effects a person with ASD has on family life. The dominant voice in the extant literature is that of parents and caregivers, but only a small body of research explores the experiences of siblings. Using a phenomenological approach, a qualitative study was conducted to understand how a typically developing (TD) adolescent experiences the effects of having siblings with ASD on family routines and activities. Findings indicate that the family’s performance context—including routines, relationships, and activities—acts as the mediator of the bidirectional relationship between the siblings with ASD’s person factors and the TD adolescent's identity. These findings support the use of a family-centered approach in occupational therapy when working with individuals with ASD and tailoring interventions to support the needs of all.