Aims: To follow the development of babies who have an autistic mother or an autistic older sibling from pregnancy until 36 months old. This is so that we can better understand early brain and behaviour differences in babies who have an increased genetic likelihood of being autistic.
Background: The children of autistic mothers have an increased genetic likelihood of being autistic themselves, although there has been no research exploring the development of babies whose mothers are autistic. Furthermore, the experiences of autistic mothers have been almost entirely neglected by research. Initial research from our group shows that autistic mothers often feel isolated, judged and unsupported. It is important therefore that research addresses the ways that autistic mothers can be better supported.
Method: MRI scanning, infant behavioural developmental assessments, parent-child play, questionnaires, interviews
Results: These will be posted on the ARC website.
Importance: The results of this research will help us to better understand early developmental differences in autism as well as how autistic mothers can be better supported.
Relevance: This research may help to inform ways to better support babies and young children who have an increased likelihood of developing autism from the earliest possible age. We are not doing this research with the aim of prenatal screening with a view to termination, since this does not align with our ethical values of respecting autistic people.
Funding: The Autism Research Trust, the Medical Research Council, the Pinsent Darwin Fund
- Dr Carrie Allison
Dr Rosie Holt
Professor Topun Austin
Professor John Suckling