Participate in a study 

The goal of our research programme is to better understand early brain and behavioural development in individuals with autism and related developmental difficulties. By doing so, we hope to contribute to the development of diagnostic and intervention methods for helping infants and toddlers with autism, and those who are at-risk for developing autism, in the future.

Child-friendly EEG netCompensation for travel to the laboratory and small gift toys are provided for all of our research participants. For parents who live outside of the greater Birmingham/West Midlands region, we may be able to arrange for travel by train and hotel accommodation for participation in some of our studies.

Note: The following are examples of studies currently running, and we would be interested to hear from anyone with a child on the autism spectrum (or younger sibling of a child on the autism spectrum) under 16 years of age. The eligibility for studies information is provided as a guideline only.

Study of the effects of play-based behavioural training on
brain activity in children with autism

Looking at shapes and objects in the behavioural testing roomWe are currently seeking 2 to 5-year-old children with autism spectrum disorders for participation in a study examining the effects of play-based behavioural training on children’s brain activity and responses during EEG. The EEG assessments include wearing a child-friendly EEG sensor net while watching videos and listening to sounds. Children will also complete behavioural assessments, including assessments of language skills, non-language skills such as using building blocks, and imitation skills. All of the assessments are safe, non-invasive measures that we have used in previous studies to test children in the general population.

The goal of this research programme is to further our understanding of the effects of learning on brain development in young children with autism, and to contribute to the development of more effective assessment and teaching methods for helping children with autism in the future.

Eligibility

  • Diagnosis, or provisional diagnosis, of Autistic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, or Aspergers Syndrome
  • Between 2 and 5-years of age
  • No major primary sensory impairment (e.g., blindness, deafness)
  • No known history of brain injury
  • Meet other inclusionary criteria

Participants will visit our laboratory at the University of Birmingham in Edgbaston, Birmingham, two or three times per week within a 14-week period.

Study of language development in siblings of children with autism

We are currently seeking 20 to 36 month old siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders for participation in a behavioural and EEG study of language development.

Our assessments evaluate speech and language development and processing. All of the assessments are safe, non-invasive measures that we have used in previous studies to test infants in the general population.

Study of language processing in young children with autism

We are currently seeking 2 to 6 year-old, high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders for participation in a behavioural and EEG study of language development.

This assessment will evaluate speech and language development and processing. This includes wearing a child-friendly EEG sensor net while watching a video and listening to sounds.

Study of emotional face and voice processing in young children with autism

We are currently seeking 3 to 6-year-old, high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders for participation in a behavioural and EEG study of emotional face and voice processing. These include wearing a child-friendly EEG sensor net while watching pictures of emotional faces and listening to emotional voices.

Study of visual processing in children with autism

We are currently seeking 6 to 12-year old, high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders for participation in behavioural, eye-tracking, and EEG studies of visual processing and perception. These may include wearing a child-friendly EEG sensor net while looking at pictures presented on a computer monitor.

Study of attention to faces in children and adolescents with autism

Eye trackerWe are currently seeking 4 to 15-year old children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders for participation in an eye-tracking study of attention to faces. This will include the participant sitting in a comfortable chair and resting their chin on a squishy head rest while we record where they are looking on the screen using a special eye-tracking camera. Participants will be shown pictures of faces while their eye movements are recorded for approximately 10 minutes.

Study of language in children and adolescents with autism

We are currently seeking 4 to 15-year old children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders for participation in an eye-tracking study of language. This will include the participant sitting in a comfortable chair and resting their chin on a squishy head rest while we record where they are looking on the screen using a special eye-tracking camera. Participants will be shown a variety of pictures that include different objects while they listen to sentences, for approximately 12 minutes. Participants will also be asked to complete several short activities with a researcher, including building patterns out of blocks and answering questions about the meanings of words.

 

 

Contact

If you are interested in learning more about participation in our studies, please contact

 

Sissy Stefanidou

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9775
Email: c.stefanidou@bham.ac.uk

or

Dr Joe McCleery

Tel: +44 (0)121 414 9775
Email: j.p.mccleery@bham.ac.uk 

 

 

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