Autism Research

Autism is a developmental disability characterized by impairments in communication and social functioning, and restricted and repetitive behaviors or interests. Recent CDC reports suggest as many as 1 in 88 children are affected with autism.  While the causes of autism are complex, genes are thought to play a key role.  Our autism studies are attempting to clarify the nature of the communication impairments in autism, and to investigate how certain subtle language features may run in families and be tied to the genes involved in autism. These projects focus on individuals with autism and their family members and involve exciting new technologies for studying language and cognitive processes, including analysis of visual processing patterns. We are recruiting families from Illinois and Iowa.

Our Studies

We are currently recruiting participants for studies that aim to:

  • Discover patterns of language use and social skills among persons with autism and their family members
  • Utilize innovative technology and genetic analyses to investigate developmental similarities among family members

Who can participate?

We conduct family studies that involve individuals with autism as well as their parents. These studies also include typically developing individuals and their parents. Families are being recruited from Illinois and Iowa because of a unique resource of developmental information that is maintained by the University of Iowa, and made available with permission.

What does participation involve?

We will ask you to do some tasks that involve words and sentences, pictures, and sounds. Other tasks involve looking at pictures and making judgments, doing puzzles, problem solving, and tracking eye movements. We will also collect a blood sample for use in this genetic study.

It will take approximately two to four hours to do the tasks, depending on how many you may have completed previously. We will schedule frequent breaks, and can break the assessment up into more than one session, if you prefer.

How are participants compensated?

Each participant will be compensated for their time, as well as, their travel and parking.

This study is funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Interested in participating?  Tell us more about you and your family.

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