Friday, September 5, 2008

Grief Update: Graduate Student Seeks Parents to Participate in Grief Study

A Graduate Student and future therapist, Shirl Patterson, at Spring Arbor University University (which is Michigan based) read my post on autism and parental grief and contacted me about finding parents to participate in her research about the topic. Please email her at griefresearch [put in "at" sign symbol here] if you'd like to participate.

According to Ms. Patterson, confidentiality is guaranteed and participation involves filling out questionnaires/inventories that will take an estimated hour to complete. Once you have contacted her, she will you send you a consent form which is required to be signed before she sends out the research materials to be filled out by participants. The researcher is hoping to have all responses by mid-October.

She became interested in this area of research after losing a family member unexpectedly 27 years ago and also while working with families associated with an SXI class. Of how her project came about she writes:

"This started out as an assignment for my Research Class. The class required us to do a write up for a mock research study. I felt my project was important enough to complete, so I went to the review committee on my own and asked if I could get permission to conduct the study. Since I am specializing in Grief and Loss I had to look up journal articles on the subject. [There is] not a whole lot and some are not recent. So I also felt that by doing this study, I am hoping to get it published so that students and professionals alike, can access current articles."

While she would love to hear from moms as well, she is particularly hoping to hear from dads as she has received a stronger response from mothers so far. Also, this study is in inclusive in terms of any diagnosis a parent's child may have. For example, a parent of a child with Down's Syndrome would be welcome to participate in addition to parents who have children with autism.

The consent form that you will receive after emailing her of your interest in participating includes a confidentiality statement, further explanations about the project as well as the contact information of the project overseers at Spring Arbor. Her project has been approved by a Human studies approval committee at the university. Research transactions will take place via email unless participant does not have access to a scanner. In that case, transactions will be conducted through the mail.

My thoughts: Ms. Patterson and I both independently discovered that there is a need for more information about grief and diagnosis. As a researcher, she has become aware of more information that fits this area of interest than I have. I'm hoping to write one or two future posts with information she has shared with me. Thanks Ms. Patterson for embarking on such an important research topic.

Please send any questions about this project to the researcher's email address which can be found in the first paragraph. Thank you.

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