The focus of Dr. Seltzer’s research is on the life course trajectory of developmental disabilities. She is interested in how the behavioral phenotype of specific developmental disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, and fragile X syndrome, changes during adolescence, adulthood, and into old age. In addition, she studies how the family environment affects the development of individuals with disabilities during these stages of life, and reciprocally, how parents and siblings of individuals with disabilities are affected.
She currently is Principal Investigator of four grants: a 12-year longitudinal study of autism during adolescence and adulthood, research on a demographically-representative sample of parents of individuals with developmental disabilities, a study of family adaptation to fragile X syndrome (FXS), and an epidemiological study of the premutation of FXS. She is also collaborating on 20-year follow up of a cohort of older adults with Down syndrome, examining how the family environment predicts outcomes in midlife and old age.
Dr. Seltzer’s autism study is the longest running longitudinal research on autism spectrum disorders during adolescence, adulthood, and midlife. It has produced over 35 publications focusing on the developmental course of autism spectrum disorders, the family context of development, and parental stress and resiliency.