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Predicting and Optimizing Language Outcomes in Minimally Verbal Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (POLO)

April 1, 2022 - August 31, 2025

POLO aims to understand variability in autistic children’s language development. POLO aims to identify how motor skills, brain activity, and genetics relate to language in autistic children, especially those who are minimally verbal. POLO aims to identify novel ways to help autistic children develop language and communication skills.

What are the goals of the study?

The main goals of POLO are to investigate how motor skills, brain responses to sounds and speech, and genomic profiles are related to different patterns of language development in children with autism with special emphasis on understanding differences between minimally verbal and more verbal children.

What will happen during the visit or online?

The study requires three visits to Boston University, each lasting about three hours. Some participants are invited to return to our lab for follow-up two more times over the course of a year. Your child will complete several play-based cognitive and language assessments, motor tasks, and saliva-based DNA collection. Your child will also watch fun videos while we record brain activity using a noninvasive technique: EEG. You will complete an interview and fill out several questionnaires about your child’s behavior and development.

How will this help families?

POLO will advance our understanding of factors that are important in language in autism.

Eligibility Criteria

We are recruiting autistic and non-autistic children aged 3;6 to 6;11 years old. English must be the primary language spoken to the child.

View the study flyer here.

Contact Information
Research Study Website
Center for Autism Research Excellence (CARE) at Boston University

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