How Grandparents Contributed to the Research
As previously reported, seven boys aged 8 to 17 years old diagnosed with autism participated in workshops designed around the 3D modeling program called SketchUp, as a part of the iSTAR5 project. The program was designed to facilitate students' spatial-design skills and social engagement. The iSTAR5 project is a different educational approach as it focuses on strengths and interests in youth on the spectrum rather than deficits or disability.
Family members, including grandparents, were involved in the workshops by participating in family events and school presentations of the students' work.
To understand the experiences and perspectives of adults dealing with a diagnosis of autism in their family, two focus groups were conducted with grandparents of the enrolled students. The first was held after the workshop had ended and the second was conducted three months later. Six grandparents voluntarily participated.
Changing Grandparent Attitudes of Grandchildren - "Playing on the Computer"
Grandparents' initial concerns about kids spending too much time playing computer games had abated by the second focus group.
Discussions revealed that by observing and participating in the technology workshops, the grandparents came to recognize the value of computer skills as a way for their grandchild to build on his strengths, which also opened more possibilities for the child's future.
"What we found encouraging was that expectations for their grandchildren changed from frustration to hope," says Wright. "For the first time, seeing the child succeed at something and start friendships gave the grandparents a sense of hope for the future."
Researchers also learned that the gra
|Contact: Scott Wright|
University of Utah