RISE

In this study, we are interested in understanding how infants learn about their world from their response to child-friendly videos they can watch at home. For example, we know from studies in the lab that many babies enjoy looking at social stimuli and are able to remember faces they have seen before. In this study, we are testing to see what we can learn about your babies cognitive development at home. This work may help us identify children with developmental delays in the future. To participate, you and your baby will watch a series of videos on your home computer. We will also ask you to answer questions about your child’s development.

What are the goals of the study?

We want to understand how babies look at and learn from the patterns in the world around them. This is part of a larger study we are running to understand how typically developing babies might learn about their world in different ways than babies with developmental delays.

What will happen during the visit or online?

In this study, your baby will see a series of videos while we record how they respond. These videos include children playing, geometric figures, objects, and patterns. After the videos, we will ask you to complete some surveys within the LookIt platform, and some will be sent to you later. These surveys are common in infant research and cover many different areas of development. You can follow the links below to learn more about each survey. Communication and Symbolic Behavior Scales (CSBS) Infant-Toddler Checklist measures the social communication, expression of speech and language, and symbolic abilities of children ages 6 months to 2 years. MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories measures communication and language development in babies and toddlers from 8 to 37 months (about 3 years) of age. Motor-Libertus Early Motor Questionnaire (EMQ) measures the development of early motor skills (such as raising and holding their own head, rolling over, and crawling) in infants and toddlers. Vinland and Adaptive Behavior Scale (VABS) measures communication and social relationships in infants and toddlers to understand home and family-life behaviors. Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) (only at completed for 18-month-old children) screens for signs of autism spectrum disorder in toddlers.

How will this help families?

This work may help us identify children with developmental delays in the future.

We are inviting autistic adults who have limited verbal communication to participate in a research study that includes 12 weeks of therapy. This would be helpful for people who are struggling with “feeling down”, which can be seen as low or sad mood, change in motivation to participate in activities, and change in sleep. 1-2 people who support the adult would join in the therapy to provide support and learn, as well.

What are the goals of the study?

This study is adapting a mental health treatment for people with intellectual disability to meet the needs of minimally verbal autistic adults.

What will happen during the visit or online?

The participant will complete 12 therapy sessions and assessment visits to check in how they are doing along the way. The 1-2 people who come with them to support and learn will also participate

How will this help families?

This study is about a mental health treatment for minimally verbal autistic adults.

Research has described difficulties in recognising other people’s emotions in people with autism. Until now, however, there are few efficient and reliable methods for identifying these difficulties. Together with the University of Zurich, the Swiss Epilepsy Centre is developing the COSIMO online test to fill this gap.

What are the goals of the study?

Through this study we can further develop the COSIMO test and advance our knowledge of emotion recognition in people with autism.

What will happen during the visit or online?

In this anonymous online study you will be tasked with identifying emotions portrayed in short film sequences and still images of the eyes. It will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

How will this help families?

Difficulties in recognising other people’s emotions have important implications for the social life of affected individuals. Identifying potential difficulties with emotion recognition has been found to be relevant for therapeutic interventions in Autism Spectrum Disorders, in order to improve possible difficulties with work or other relationships.

My name is Samri and I am a research participant recruiter from Miami University’s Later Language Development Lab. I am reaching out to you today with the opportunity to contribute to our NIH-supported research on the development of a social communication assessment tool which targets adolescents and young adults at the age of transition. We are currently seeking participants between the ages of 14 and 21 years old with a native proficiency in English and typical hearing. We are asking that participants meet one-on-one with a member of our research team for 1-1.5 hours via Zoom to answer a series of interview questions which probe their knowledge of how to communicate in different contexts. After, the participant will be paid the sum of $30-50 via Zelle for their involvement. This study is being conducted by Dr. Trace Poll from the Speech Pathology and Audiology Department at Miami University alongside Jan Petru from Elmhurst University, who is acting as our clinical consultant for the study.

What are the goals of the study?

Specifically, we are continuing research on our development of a social communication assessment tool tailored to adolescents and young adults preparing for the transition from high school to post-school contexts. This tool that we are developing is called the Transition Pragmatics Interview (or the TPI).

What will happen during the visit or online?

This commitment includes the signing of a consent form, the completion of a brief history form, and a 1-1.5 hour meeting via Zoom to answer interview questions probing their knowledge of how to communicate in different situational contexts.

How will this help families?

The information from this project provides information on the degree to which the TPI is a valid and reliable measure of social communication. Speech-language pathologists, special educators and related professionals currently lack assessment instruments that address the population and contexts targeted by the TPI. The project will indicate how the TPI may improve on clinical judgment, or the findings of instruments less targeted to the needs of adolescents and young adults with disabilities in transition programs. Fundamentally, the results will indicate how the TPI may be refined in order to become a more valid and reliable measure.

Researchers in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center department of hearing and speech sciences are running a study to better understand why some autistic people are more sensitive to everyday sounds than others and how this relates to the way the brain processes sound.

What are the goals of the study?

Although they are not frequently diagnosed, sound sensitivity disorders, including hyperacusis, misophonia, and phonophobia, are extremely common in the autistic population. The purpose of the current research study is to compare and contrast people with and without these different sound sensitivity syndromes in terms of their clinical symptoms, hearing, brain function, and mental health. By examining a group of adults with ALL levels and types of sound sensitivity (including no sound sensitivity at all), we hope to answer fundamental questions about the nature of sound sensitivity and improve the ways in which clinicians diagnose and assess patients with this common complaint.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Study participants will be asked to complete some online questionnaires and come to Vanderbilt for up to two in-person sessions. The first in-person session includes psychoacoustic (hearing) tests, interviews, and standardized psychological assessments. After that session, you may qualify for a second session that will include more hearing tests, brainwave recordings (EEG), and other measures of auditory function. There are no anticipated risks to you, and you may not benefit directly from your participation in this study, though you will have the opportunity to request a report of your study results. Following a screening questionnaire (approximately 10–15 minutes), there are two visits to the laboratory (each lasting approximately 3-5 hours) and two groups of online questionnaires (approximately 20–40 minutes each).

How will this help families?

Currently, research on autism and sound sensitivity has been limited to primarily descriptive studies of prevalence, and there is very little understanding of underlying mechanisms, let alone any evidence-based diagnostic or treatment strategies. This work will be foundational in advancing our knowledge of this problem and its underlying causes in the autistic population, which can hopefully lead the way toward better clinical care for autistic people who experience sound sensitivity in their everyday lives.

We want to measure brain rhythms in children/teens with and without ASD during overnight sleep at home using wearable sleep headbands.

What are the goals of the study?

We’re hoping to learn more about differences in brain rhythms during sleep. Since lab-based sleep studies are expensive and burdensome, a sleep headband that could accurately and comfortably measure sleep rhythms at home would allow us to study more people over longer periods of time and help us learn more about sleep disruptions in different populations.

What will happen during the visit or online?

We will send a sleep headband to participants and conduct a remote training session to teach participants how to set it up and use it. Participants will then sleep at home with the headband for up to 3 consecutive nights. We will have daily checkins and offer remote technical assistance as needed. Participants will answer some questionnaires and surveys, and return the headband in a pre-paid box at the end of the study.

How will this help families?

Learning more about sleep differences may help us develop treatments for sleep difficulties in the future.

The current study will be conducted by a research team at the University of Maryland College Park, via Zoom and aims to teach peer type family members (PFM) such as siblings or cousins of autistic children/youth to use video prompting to support daily living skills. The primary aim of the study is to examine the PFM fidelity of implementation using a single-case design across 10 child-family member dyads. The secondary aim is to examine the effects of PFM-implemented video prompting on daily living skills of children or youth with autism using a single-case design across the same 10 dyads. The third aim of the study is to descriptively analyze the social validity of the intervention by having the participants complete an anonymous survey (for caregivers) or a Zoom session (for child/youth and the PFM). The findings will provide implications for family-involved learning of daily living skills using virtual coaching in natural settings. This study is important because autistic children and youth have benefited from step-by-step directions to learn daily routines including mealtime, brushing teeth, or doing laundry or dishes. For example, video prompting has been shown to be effective to introduce cooking, academic, functional, and social skills. Previous research shows that peer-type family members (PFM) such as siblings successfully implement interventions to support diverse skills for autistic children/youth. Thus, the use of PFM-implemented video prompting could be beneficial to support the daily living skills of children or youth with autism.

What are the goals of the study?

The study attempts to teach PFMs of autistic children/youth to use video prompting to support daily living skills. The main goal is to examine the PFM fidelity of implementation using a single-case design across 10 child-family member dyads. The secondary aim is to examine the effects of PFM-implemented video prompting on daily living skills of the same children/youth with autism. Finally, the study descriptively analyzes the social validity of the intervention by interviewing the participants.

What will happen during the visit or online?

The study will take place via Zoom for approximately 3 months with 2-3 sessions per week and the following procedure: • 5-minute questionnaire • 5-10 minutes observation of the child engaging in the everyday skills (about 1-2 weeks) • 20-minute training for PFM to use video-based learning (about 2-3 weeks) • 20-minute session for observation of, and feedback for child and PFM (about 3-4 weeks) • 5-minute observation of the child/youth engaging in everyday skills (about 1-3 times) after the training is over • 5-minute survey for caregiver, and 10-minute Zoom session with child/youth and PFM to ask for feedback about the research process

How will this help families?

We hope to better understand how peer type family members such as siblings or cousins could participate in home-based daily living skills learning and practice for autistic individuals using video clips and video prompting. Specifically, we want to understand how family members can receive training via a virtual platform, and implement the intervention to fidelity. Additionally, we want to examine how effective it is for a sibling or a cousin to facilitate video-based learning of daily living skills on the autistic individual’s outcome. Finally, we want to understand how feasible and relevant these training and intervention strategies are for caregivers, autistic individuals, and their peer type family members.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior. Given the lack of specific pharmacological therapy for ASD and the clinical heterogeneity of the disorder, researchers at The Johnson Center and the University of Texas Southwestern are undertaking an ASD biomarker study with the goal of identifying biomarkers for determining ASD risk and developing potential therapeutic interventions.

This study may help with identifying ASD risk in very young children so that interventions and therapies can begin as early as possible – this is critical for ensuring the best developmental outcome. We will use machine learning (AI) to identify therapeutic targets that may help with addressing ASD-specific behaviors.

What are the goals of the study?

The purpose of this study is to identify biomarkers of ASD that correlate with behavioral and developmental phenotypes in order to:
1) develop and test biomarker profiles that form a diagnostics tool;
2) screen and identify children with ASD who might benefit from specific interventions; and 3) develop and test biomarker profiles that inform an instrument for monitoring therapeutic response to medical interventions; and improve the clinical well-being of affected children and increase our knowledge base of this disorder.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Your participation will require two parts:

i) Completion of 4 online questionnaires that can be done from home.

ii) Visiting a Lab Service Center, such as Quest, Lab Corp or CPL, near your home for your child to give a small blood sample.

Compensation of $125 is provided upon completion of the study.

How will this help families?

The biomarkers we identify may assist in the development of therapeutic interventions for targeted treatments for autism.

This research study aims to find out more about adults with autism spectrum disorder, including how adults with autism think, how their brains work, and how these things change as they get older.

What are the goals of the study?

The main goal of the study is to understand the aging process in people with autism.

What will happen during the visit or online?

The study involves autism diagnostic evaluation at the SDSU Center for Autism, and a neuropsychological battery testing the individual’s memory, attention span, and other cognitive skills. Participants are also asked to undergo an MRI scan at the SDSU Imaging Center, which allows us to collect information about the brain anatomy and function. Because we are aiming to understand how people with autism age, we hope to repeat this evaluation in about 3-5 years, inviting participants to return for another scan and a set of assessments.

How will this help families?

Participants in this study report that they learn important information about their memory and other cognitive abilities from participating in the study. Broadly, the results of this study should help us understand how people with autism age – something that has not been studied nor well understood thus far.

Six-to-ten year old children with autism spectrum disorders are invited to participate in a fun study, which involves wearing an actigraphy watch for two weeks (to estimate the quality and other characteristics of the child’s sleep) and participation in one MRI session at SDSU Imaging Center. Both children and parents are asked to keep sleep diaries for the two weeks when the child is wearing the actigraphy watch. Finally, children are asked to take part in a brief cognitive testing session. The study aims to understand the links between sleep (problems) and brain development in children with autism.

What are the goals of the study?

This study aims to understand potential mechanisms underlying sleep disturbances in autism.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Children will be asked to wear an actigraphy watch for two weeks, keep sleep diaries, take part in one MRI scan, and complete a brief behavioral assessment session.

How will this help families?

Sleep problems affect 50-80% of individuals with autism and can have cascading effects on development, everyday function, and quality of life. However, the mechanisms underlying sleep disturbances in ASD are not understood. A better insight into the potential mechanisms of sleep disturbances in autism may ultimately help with developing new treatments targeting sleep in children with autism.

The purpose of this study is to understand the healthcare experiences of both non-autistic and autistic adults as well as their related needs. Participants that support adult family members at healthcare appointments will have the option to answer additional questions.

What are the goals of the study?

To improve education to reduce healthcare disparity and to offer guidance on universal design as well as accessibility.

What will happen during the visit or online?

Take an online survey

How will this help families?

Improve education for healthcare professionals and office workers

This study is being conducted by Dr. Lee Mason and Alexis Bolds of Cook Children’s Health Care System and Texas Christian University’s Burnett School of Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas. Our research is designed to assess your child’s language development over the course of two years. Every six months we will ask you and your child to take part in a telehealth-based functional language assessment that will last approximately one hour. At the completion of this project, we will compare the different language profiles of all participants.

What are the goals of the study?

We are asking you to take part in this research because your child’s language skills are still developing, and we are trying to learn more about how functional language develops over time. The purpose of this research is to determine whether we can accurately conduct language assessments via telehealth, and to better understand the differences in language development between children with and without autism spectrum disorder.

What will happen during the visit or online?

A language assessment called a “verbal operant experimental (VOX) analysis” will be conducted every six months as part of this research. The VOX is a functional analysis of language that has been carefully designed to assess four language domains: conversing, labeling, echoing, and requesting. Across each of these conditions, we will assess your child’s ability to say the same words. Caregivers will also be asked to complete a brief demographic survey at the time of each assessment to identify potential factors that may be related to language development. We expect each assessment to take approximately 45-60 minutes of your time.

How will this help families?

After each VOX analysis, you will receive an assessment report that describes strengths and weaknesses of your functional language skills. The report provides recommendations for helping to remediate any deficit areas identified by the assessment.