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Children on the Autism Spectrum: Grandmother Involvement and Family Functioning

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Background  This study investigated associations between the presence of a child with autism or Asperger’s disorder in the family, family functioning and grandmother experiences with the goal of better understanding grandparent involvement in the lives of grandchildren on the autism spectrum and their families.

Methods  Mothers and grandmothers of children who were either typically developing or on the autism spectrum completed parallel forms of a grandparent involvement measure. Mothers reported on the functioning of the immediate family. Data were analysed via multilevel modelling with mother–grandmother dyads as the unit of observation.

Results  Autism spectrum disorders in children were associated with more flexible family functioning, lower levels of family satisfaction, greater grandmother difficulties and more grandmother information needs.

Conclusions  Participation of grandparents in diagnostic and treatment meetings and increased communication among family members may facilitate grandparent support and involvement in families with a child on the autism spectrum.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: City University of New York Graduate School and University Center, NY, USA 2: State University of New York, New Paltz, NY, USA 3: Queens College of the City University of New York, Flushing, NY, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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