Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Neil, Nicole


Children with Down syndrome (DS) demonstrate deficits in social and communication skills resulting in atypical relationships with others, including siblings. Typically-developing (TD) siblings face their own social and emotional adjustment needs that impact the sibling relationship. The current study examined the effects of a 10-week social skills support program on the sibling relationship between children with DS and their TD siblings. Two sibling dyads completed the program consisting of skills instruction for children with DS, a support group for TD siblings, and cooperative recreation activities for all children together. The sibling relationship was measured through self-report questionnaires and direct observations of sibling interactions. Results show preliminary evidence that a social skills support group may help improve the sibling relationship and suggests the need for further investigation. TD siblings are a critical lifelong support for individuals with DS and these results can help improve quality of life for the entire family system.