By Michelle Larscheid, Program Coordinator
PRISMS is excited to be funding Austin Burns, a 4th-year clinical psychology doctoral student at Saint Louis University, to work on developing an intervention for adolescent siblings of individuals with SMS. Dr. Rebecca Foster, a pediatric psychologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital and PRISMS Professional Advisory Board Member, is serving as the mentor to Austin for this project.
Austin is working to develop a research protocol for a sibling-to-sibling mentorship program for siblings of individuals with SMS. Adolescent siblings will be matched with young adult mentors, all of whom have a sibling with SMS. Mentors will meet with mentees via telephone or virtual format over the course of an 8-week program. During this program, mentees will gain support from mentors while discussing and processing topics unique to having a sibling with SMS, such as sibling relationships and caregiver roles, emotional needs, family dynamics, and communication, adaptive coping and personal growth, and self-care. The project will assess the feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness of the mentorship program using information from the mentors, mentees, and caregivers.
Austin’s clinical and research interests involve a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders and associated family processes and outcomes. He is looking forward to working on this project and learning more about SMS. He is particularly excited to have the opportunity to provide support to siblings of individuals with SMS and their families through this mentorship program!
Learn more about research at PRISMS on our Research page. Keep an eye out for more details on the program and how to participate as a mentee or mentor. We plan to launch the program in early 2022.