There is probably only one question in the field of intellectual disability (ID) and autism family research that has been answered pretty much beyond doubt. Parents, especially mothers, raising children with ID or autism report more stress and mental health difficulties than other parents.
We wanted to explore this further and in January 2014 Prof Richard Hastings, based at Warwick University, was awarded research funding from Cerebra to carry out the first large scale and long term study to identify and understand family stress, its causes, strategies for coping adopted by families and the outcomes for all family members.
The Cerebra 1,000 families study will follow 1,000 families over a five year period. Children between the ages of 4 and 11 years with an intellectual disability or autism will be recruited into the study shortly. Data will be collected from both parents (primary and secondary parental caregivers) where there is more than one parent in the household, and from one parent only in single parent households.
Data collected will allow the researchers to address questions about parental well-being and the two way relationship between a child’s behaviour and parental well-being; why some parents report significant psychological stress and others do not (psychological variables and socio-economic variables); and how parents and children are affected by the transition from primary to secondary school. In addition the study will focus on fathers of children with intellectual disability or autism and their psychological well-being over time and the positive and negative outcomes for siblings.
Cerebra is also planning a conference with the University of Warwick focussing on Mental Health in Children with Learning Disability and/or Autism.
When? – 4th June 2015
Where? – The Welcome Centre, Coventry
Who is it for? The conference aims to bring together researchers, practitioners, educators and organisations working with children with Learning disabilities and/or autism in the West Midlands. Parents and carers are also welcome.
What is it about? The conference provides an opportunity for sharing research information relating to mental health in children with learning disabilities and/or autism, understanding national developments as well as discussing the implications of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCs).
Keep a look out for more information about the conference and how to book in upcoming newsletters!