School of Behavioral Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, High-Functioning, Level 1, Asperger's, Female, Adolescent, Siblings, Social Communication, Verbal Communication, Nonverbal Communication, Case Study
Paxton, Victoria Suzette, "Parental Perspectives on the Social Communication between Adolescent Females Diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Typically Developing Older Siblings: A Case Study" (2023). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 4294.
Verbal social communication and nonverbal social communication have been documented as a source of deficiency in adolescents with high-functioning (H-F) autism. Likewise, adolescent females with autism reported an increase in social communication difficulties as they aged into adolescence. While the positive impact on social communication in children with autism by older siblings has been documented, there is no such research that has investigated the nonverbal and verbal social communication characteristics among adolescent females with high-functioning autism and their typically developing older siblings (Ben-Itzchak et al., 2016). In the following research study, parental perspectives on the social communication between female adolescents with high-functioning autism and their typically developing older sibling(s) were examined using a case study approach. Nine parents of an adolescent daughter with high-functioning autism and an older sibling(s) described the nonverbal and verbal social communication between their high-functioning daughter with autism and their siblings during a semi structured interview. Adolescent females with high-functioning autism were between 12 and 16 years of age, sharing fulltime residence with their parent and older sibling(s). Adolescent females with high-functioning autism tended to share typical nonverbal communication with their siblings with moments of typical verbal communication. In comparison, adolescent females with high-functioning autism tended to share more atypical nonverbal and atypical verbal communication with their parent. Parents took on a more careful communication style toward their daughters while older siblings took on a more natural communication style toward their sister with high-functioning autism. Descriptions of the communication between siblings suggest that older siblings may present adolescent sisters with the opportunity for more authentic communication opportunities.