09:06am Monday 20 January 2020

Siblings of children with autism: Family event promotes building relationships

“Fostering Positive Sibling Relationships in Children with Autism” will be 10 a.m. to noon and is offered by the Purdue Developmental Studies Laboratory. The event is free and open to the public, but families need to register in advance with Anastasia Krutulis, anastasia@purdue.edu or 765-494-6610. With their registration, families will receive more information and detailed directions to the event.

Child care will be provided during the information session, and activity time will follow to give families hands-on experience with some of the presented strategies. Child development experts will be present to help families adapt techniques to fit their family and child needs.

“We don’t want children to miss out on the positive lifelong relationships that siblings often share,” said A. J. Schwichtenberg, an assistant professor
 of human development and family studies, psychological sciences, and speech, language and hearing sciences. “At this event, we plan to share strategies that families can employ to help their children form a close bond. We encourage families with children of all ages to attend, and we realize each family is different. Some siblings may fall on the autism spectrum and others will not. We will work with the families individually. And it’s important to remember that siblings who are not on the spectrum also need support.”

Autism is a communicative and developmental disorder that can vary in severity and affect how people interact with others. It is estimated that 1 in 68 children have some form of autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

Schwichtenberg also is leading an Infant Sibling Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, to better understand the development of autism in young children. The researchers are seeking infants 6-18 months old who have at least one older sibling diagnosed with autism. The study continues until 36 months of age, and during the study, child development experts will provide regular developmental feedback, including assessments of fine and gross motor skills, language, emotional regulation, and visual reception. More information about the study is available online or by contacting the Developmental Studies Laboratory coordinator and community liaison, Anastasia Krutulis, anastasia@purdue.edu or 765-494-6610. 

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu


Source: A.J. Schwichtenberg, 765-496-2780 or aschwich@purdue.edu

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