New survey finds grandparents play key role in lives of children with autism

April 6th, 2010 in Medicine & Health / Other

Today, the Interactive Autism Network (IAN), the nation's largest online autism research project, announces results of the Grandparents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders Survey, finding that nearly one-third of grandparents who participated were the first to raise concerns about their grandchild's development. Since its launch in 2007, the IAN Project has helped to accelerate the pace of autism research by gathering valuable information online from individuals on the autism spectrum and their parents. The launch of the October 2009 survey was the first time that the IAN Project has collected information from grandparents. The IAN Research Report: Grandparents of Children with ASD - Part 1, and the subsequent report that will be released later in the month, demonstrate the substantial impact having a grandchild on the spectrum has on grandparents' lives, as well as the contributions they make through early detection - which is crucial to early diagnosis and intervention - child care, and financial support.

"It became clear that - a population largely overlooked by policymakers and researchers - had valuable insights to share when they came to us asking how they could participate in the IAN Project," said Dr. Paul Law, Director of the IAN Project at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. "These survey results show that experiences are remarkably diverse, but one thing is clear: grandparents often play a major part in their grandchild's life and experience their own stresses and triumphs in these families."

In just eight weeks, more than 2,600 grandparents completed the survey. The findings highlighted below summarize the compelling results from the Research Report released today as well as Part 2 of the report, which will be released in mid-April:

Grandparents and their families
Grandparents represented a wide age range, although most were between the ages of 55 and 74.

Grandparents as caregivers

Many grandparents played a major role in raising concerns about their grandchild's development.

Financial impact

A significant majority of grandparents reported contributing to their grandchild's general or special financial needs.

"It is hoped that the results of this survey will help researchers, policymakers and advocates learn about the experiences and opinions of grandparents of children with an ASD, and advance efforts to advocate for improved services and resources," said Dr. Law.

More information: Read more about the survey results at www.iancommunity.org/cs/ian_research_reports/ian_research_report_apr_2010

Provided by Kennedy Krieger Institute

"New survey finds grandparents play key role in lives of children with autism." April 6th, 2010. http://phys.org/news189779664.html