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Notre Dame study seeking 150 local families

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - A Notre Dame research team is seeking 150 Michiana families.

They’re embarking on a $3.5 million study that could revolutionize communication for parents and kids.

The study provides therapy and tips for families that include a child with developmental disabilities.

For one researcher on the project, it’s personal.

Growing up with a brother who had a developmental disability, Dr. Joshua John Diehl, chief strategy officer for autism services at Logan, says there are things he wishes he’d known earlier.

“I think a lot of times I didn’t want to be a burden on my family with my own feelings or concerns about my brother,” Diehl said.

Now, Diehl can help other families with this type of communication through the study.

Funding from the National Institutes of Health is making it possible.

“This money is going to a therapy that’s going to go to real families in the community,” Diehl said.

Participating families must have co-habitating parents, a child with a developmental or intellectual disability, and a typically developing adolescent.

They’ll learn how to talk to eachother and solve problems together with Dr. Mark Cummings and Jessica Likens, from Notre Dame Psychology.

They’ve been working with Diehl for years on perfecting communication between parents, siblings and individuals with autism or Down syndrome.

“It’s very important that children feel secure in families, and parents feel secure as well. We know that if children feel secure, they’re more likely to be better adjusted, do better in school, and do better with friends,” Cummings said.

People interested in the study can email NDSPARC@nd.edu or call 574-631-6009.

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