Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 43, Issue 3, pp 556–568 | Cite as

Parents’ Perspectives on Participating in Genetic Research in Autism

  • Magan Trottier
  • Wendy Roberts
  • Irene Drmic
  • Stephen W. Scherer
  • Rosanna Weksberg
  • Cheryl Cytrynbaum
  • David Chitayat
  • Cheryl ShumanEmail author
  • Fiona A. Miller


Genetic research in autism depends on the willingness of individuals with autism to participate; thus, there is a duty to assess participants’ needs in the research process. We report on families’ motives and expectations related to their participation in autism genetic research. Respondents valued having a genetic result, as it alleviates guilt, promotes awareness, and may be used to tailor interventions and for family planning. The act of participating was distinctly significant, as it provided personal control, a connection to autism experts, networking with families, and hope for the future. The results of this study highlight complex factors involved in families’ decisions to participate in autism genetic research and provide points to consider for this population of research participants.


Autism Parent experiences Genetic research Motivations Expectations Genetic result 



Magan Trottier would like to acknowledge the support and assistance of her colleagues, Laura Winter, Melanie Napier and Nolan D’Souza and members of her Scientific Committee. Stephen W. Scherer holds the GlaxoSmithKline-CIHR Chair in Genome Sciences at the Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto. This research was supported by the Trainee Start-Up Fund at the Hospital for Sick Children’s Research Institute.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magan Trottier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wendy Roberts
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Irene Drmic
    • 3
  • Stephen W. Scherer
    • 2
    • 6
    • 7
  • Rosanna Weksberg
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 7
  • Cheryl Cytrynbaum
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Chitayat
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    • 8
  • Cheryl Shuman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fiona A. Miller
    • 9
  1. 1.Division of Clinical and Metabolic GeneticsThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Molecular GeneticsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Autism Research UnitThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation HospitalTorontoCanada
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  6. 6.The Centre for Applied Genomics, The Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Program in Genetics and Genome BiologyThe Hospital for Sick ChildrenTorontoCanada
  8. 8.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyThe Prenatal Diagnosis and Medical Genetics Program, Mount Sinai HospitalTorontoCanada
  9. 9.Institute of Health Policy, Management and EvaluationredUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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