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Family Experiences in Fragile X and Autism

August 22, 2022 - March 31, 2023

This project focuses on increasing our understanding of the life experiences, and aging trajectories of mothers of children with fragile X syndrome, mothers of children on the autism spectrum, and mothers of typically developing children, with a focus on mental health, language, and cognitive outcomes. Results will fill gaps in our understanding of environmental, physiological, and genetic factors underlying aging phenotypes in mothers of children with neurodevelopmental disorders. This information will inform family-centered prevention, treatment, and monitoring efforts that will improve outcomes of families affected by neurodevelopmental disorders.

What are the goals of the study?

This project focuses on increasing our understanding of the life experiences, and aging trajectories of mothers of children with fragile X syndrome, mothers of children on the autism spectrum, and mothers of typically developing children, with a focus on mental health, language, and cognitive outcomes. Results will fill gaps in our understanding of environmental, physiological, and genetic factors underlying aging phenotypes in mothers of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Behavioral measures will assess various aspects of language, cognition, mental health, and family characteristics. Measures will include direct observation and standardized testing. Physiological stress regulation will be evaluated through a heart rate monitor. Saliva samples will be collected and analyzed for molecular genetic variation related to the FMR1 gene, which has been shown in recent work to play a broad role in brain function that is relevant to both fragile X and non-fragile X populations.

How will this help families?

Information obtained from this study will help characterize the life experiences of aging mothers of children on the autism spectrum, which in turn will inform methods for improving family-centered outcomes.

Eligibility Criteria

Biological mothers of children on the autism spectrum between the ages of 35-65 are eligible. Participants must be native speakers of American English.

Contact Information
Research Study Website
University of South Carolina

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