Brittany Collins Kaufman | August 29, 2017
The National Institutes of Health awarded a new $3.5 million grant to the University of Notre Dame’s William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families in support of a project for families that include a child with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The project is a collaboration out of the Shaw Center between Mark Cummings, William J. Shaw Center for Children and Families Professor of Psychology, and Joshua John Diehl, chief strategy officer for autism services at LOGAN Community Resources Inc. in South Bend.
The new Supporting Parent-Adolescent Relationships and Communication (ND-SPARC) project is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention program to support families that include an individual with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Families, including parents and typically developing adolescent siblings, will receive information about communication, conflict resolution and the role family conflict plays in child and adolescent development.
The project will be conducted in South Bend and Fort Wayne, Indiana, and their surrounding areas. Researchers will recruit 150 married or cohabiting couples and their children to participate in the study. Families will work with project staff over the course of several months, and researchers will use information they provide to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
“We are excited to work with so many wonderful families from two communities in Northern Indiana and look forward to learning a lot from them,” Cummings said. “We’ve had great feedback and very promising results from an earlier, related study and are very optimistic that we will be able to provide an easily accessible program that families will enjoy, and that will make a significant difference in supporting families with children with developmental disabilities in the opportunities and challenges they face daily.”