An often forgotten component of autism is the effect it has on the family.
Caring for an autistic child causes severe stresses on families. Behavioral problems are often the biggest struggle family members face with an autistic. Divorce rates are higher for parents of children with autism than the general population.
Among the many projects being conducted at the Waisman Center in Madison, researchers are studying how autism affects families. Leading that research is Waisman Center director Marsha Mailick Seltzer.
“The predominant pattern, not just in our study but in other studies, that the most stressful period is in the early childhood period,” Seltzer said. “We have a paper under review right now looking at divorce rates. They are higher in families of children with autism than the general population.”