Can we take part?
For this study, we are asking permission to collect blood and saliva samples from all the family members of the infant siblings who participated in BASIS and/or STAARS. This includes the child and their mother, father and siblings older than 3 years.
A trained member of the BASIS research team and a phlebotomist visit you at a mutually convenient time to obtain blood and saliva samples. Alternatively, if you prefer to only provide saliva samples these can be posted to you and returned back to us by post. Saliva samples give less information than blood samples, but are still valuable to research.
Blood sample collection involves a phlebotomist administering a blood test to each member of the family. One or two (depending on the participant’s age) tubes for DNA and one for RNA extraction will be collected from each family member willing to give blood.
Saliva sample collection requires participants to spit into separate containers for DNA collection and RNA collection.
This process may be assisted by the use of sponges that are moved along the gums and inner cheeks to soak up saliva in this area.
Additional measures allow us to answer more questions about the early development of ASD, in particular suggesting how genetic variation might relate to variation in behaviour. This involves completing an online computerised task and parents filling in some questionnaires about the behaviour of the child who took part in the previous BASIS study, their siblings and for parents to report on their own behaviour.
The computerised task looks at social perception abilities and it is designed to inform us on how people perceive emotion, particularly through facial expressions. You will see a series of faces and must decide whether they are gazing directly into your eyes or slightly to the side. The test lasts 5-10 minutes. A URL will be provided to each family member older than 6 years of age to access the task. If you have children younger than 6 years of age who took part in gBASIS, we will contact you again when they are older to complete the online task.
The questionnaires ask about the behaviour and development, for example social and communication abilities, attention, and daily functioning. We will also ask for some information about older siblings and parents, as this will help us find out more about the family. The questions will be about the medical history, such as medications taken, personality traits, well-being, attention, interaction and daily functioning.