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New survey finds grandparents play key role in lives of children with autism
Date:4/6/2010

s of 55 and 74.

  • Family relationships: Nearly 90% felt that the experience of facing their grandchild's situation together had brought them and their adult child -- the grandchild's parent closer, although many worried for their adult child raising a child on the autism spectrum.

  • Support and coping: Of those who were married or in a committed relationship, 92% said they felt their spouse or partner supported them "always" or "most of the time." The majority of grandparents reported that they had adjusted to their grandchild's diagnosis and were doing "very" or "fairly" well.

  • Genetics in autism: Approximately 15% of grandparents had two or more grandchildren on the spectrum. Of those with more than one grandchild with ASD, two-thirds reported that their grandchildren were siblings, while the other third reported their grandchildren with ASD were cousins.

Grandparents as caregivers

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

  • Fully 30% said they were the first to raise concerns about their grandchild, while another 49% said they had supported others who began to raise concerns.

  • Grandparents often play a major role in helping care for a grandchild with ASD: Nearly 11% reported living in the same household as their grandchild, with another 46% living within 24 miles.

    In addition, of those who were traditional grandparents (not their grandchild's custodial parent) 14% said they and their grandchild's family had moved closer to each other so they could help the grandchild's family "manage all that is involved with his or her ASD," while 7% said they had actually combined households for the same reason.

  • 71% said they played some role in treatment decisions for their grandchild.

  • More than 15% were providing transportation for their affected grandchild to or from appointments or school at least once per week.
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Contact: Megan Lustig
mlustig@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222 x2586
Kennedy Krieger Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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