5 Methods to Explain Autism to a Non-Autistic Sibling

5 Methods to Explain Autism to a Non-Autistic Sibling

People with autism might have a non-autistic sibling.

It is vital for your family to be able to provide support for each other.

When you explain autism to a non-autistic sibling, you provide a possible method of therapy for autism.

One of the most effective methods to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling is to join an autism support group and interacting with autistic people.

This places the focus on a practical understanding of autism rather than a focus on the use of words.

By interacting with autistic people, anyone can gain a broad understanding of autism.

Breaking autism down is a great method to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling.

Autism can be a concept that people struggle to understand.

However, breaking down autism into simpler terms makes it easier for people to understand autism.

Some people struggle to explain and describe autism.

Using metaphors makes it easier for people to explain and understand autism.

However, it is essential to be mindful of the choice of words used in metaphors to avoid misconceptions.

Find out how to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling:

Autism Therapists in Colorado

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Laura Brinkman, MA, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Joseph Anders, LPCC

Joseph Anders, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Melissa Peterson, LPC

Melissa Peterson, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Clarissa Mendez, LSW

Clarissa Mendez, LSW

(720) 449-4121
Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Vanessa Curran, LPCC

Vanessa Curran, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

Arias Gonzales, MS, LPC, NCC, EMDR-Trained

(719) 345-2424
Julie Maloney, LPCC

Julie Maloney, LPCC

(719) 345-2424

Join Autism Support Groups

Autism might be a difficult concept to explain to other people.

It is possible that a non-autistic sibling might struggle to understand their autistic sibling.

This might be due to the age of the sibling, as siblings of a certain age will likely be better at understanding new concepts.

An excellent method to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling is to show how autistic people are.

This could be done by volunteering with the sibling to an autism support group.

Since autism is not one trait but rather a spectrum of broad traits, exposure to different people on the spectrum will be helpful in understanding what autism is.

The support group can be helpful for your family.

One of the benefits of an autism support group is that your non-autistic child can learn from the experiences of other families, especially ones with more experience.

This would also be an opportunity for neurotypical children to make friends with both autistic people and neurotypical people familiar with relations with autistic children.

Over time, your non-autistic child will learn about autism and autistic people.

This might even make your non-autistic child better at interacting with their autistic sibling.

It could also give your children a platform to express their feelings better.

Use Metaphors 

Metaphors are very helpful in explaining various concepts.

You could use relatable words to explain what autism is and autistic traits.

Since you know your child well, you can find the appropriate metaphors to use to explain autism to your non-autistic sibling.

Although metaphors are helpful in explaining concepts in a simple manner, it is essential to be wary of the use of metaphors.

Sometimes metaphors are ambiguous and subsequently lead to misconceptions and misunderstandings about autism.

Misconceptions and misunderstandings can hurt the relationship between your autistic child and your non-autistic child.

Try to encourage questions from your non-autistic child.

This will allow you to gain clarity from your child on what they understand from your use of metaphors.

Metaphors are a very convenient way to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling.

Metaphors usually work together with more literal words.

You can use the metaphors sparing to convey a message on the more technical details.

The benefit of metaphors is that they emphasize the idea more than the lengthy details.

Break it Down

There are many ways to explain something to people.

When explaining autism to a non-autistic sibling, try to ignore the technical details and focus on the main concept of autism.

An effective method to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling is to break down the terms.

Some people have misconceptions about autism due to a lack of understanding of autism.

A reason it is important to prevent and restrict misconceptions.

Breaking the concept of autism into simpler terms that focus on understanding will help fight misconceptions about autism broadly and also in your family.

Consider how you can have a conversation with a focus on understanding.

Rather than focusing on the particular scientific explanations of autism, a non-autistic sibling might find it easy to understand simple concepts.

Try to explain what autism is and the wide range of traits in autistic people.

Encourage questions from your non-autistic child.

When your non-autistic child understands autism, then you can consider adding more details subsequently.

You could also encourage your child to research the other parts of autistic by themselves.

Discuss the Differences 

Diversity is a common trait in humans.

It is natural for children to notice differences between people.

A great way to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling is to highlight and discuss the differences in people.

You could begin by highlighting some unique parts about your other child.

For instance, you could mention activities your other child engages in, such as playing with friends.

This will allow your child to recognize their uniqueness.

Then you could also highlight some traits of autistic individuals.

This will allow your child to understand the differences between themself and autistic people.

Try to emphasize how the differences are not by choice but rather things they are born with.

Highlighting that autism has a range of behaviors will also be helpful to the non-autistic sibling.

This will teach your child to understand that not all autistic people are the same.

Rely on External Resources 

Despite your best attempts of trying to explain what autism is.

You could find yourself struggling to pass across any real message to your non-autistic sibling.

Fortunately, you can rely on external resources to fill in the gaps for you.

An excellent place to begin in explaining autism is to read up personally about what autism is.

Knowledge of autism will help you to explain autism better.

You can also discover new ways to explain autism to your non-autistic child.

You could also consider providing resources for the non-autistic sibling to understand autism.

There are many resources that deal with autism in a simple and friendly manner, with pictures such as the internet, books, and videos.

For instance, a book that can address autism and particular autism traits, you could select a book that suits your purpose.

Alternatively, there are also videos available that can explain autism.

Videos and books can approach the topic with creativity and fun art.

However, it would be helpful to make sure that the resource you rely on to explain autism to a non-autistic sibling suit the particular traits of your autistic child. 


It is essential that the sibling of an autistic child understands what autism is.

This will likely create tighter family bonds and support for autism.

You could explain autism to a non-autistic sibling by joining autism support groups, the use of metaphors, highlighting differences, breaking down autism, and relying on external resources.


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July 24th, 2024

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