Research Studies
In the interest of promoting autism awareness, we feel it is important to help spread the word about autism spectrum research studies that are being conducted in our area. For the first time, we are giving individuals and organizations the opportunity to advertise their research studies in future ASCEND e-newsletters and on our website, for a nominal fee without first becoming ASCEND members. Use this Research Study Form to submit your study. 

Mealtime Experiences Study

The Mealtime Experiences research study is being conducted at the E.K. Shriver Center at UMass Medical School. The purpose of the study is to learn directly from young adults (18-23 yrs.)  on the autism spectrum who have food selective behaviors (i.e., dislike a lot of foods or eat fewer foods than most people their age), about whether and how their food preferences impact their mealtime experiences with family, peers, and/or community access.


Young Children's Knowledge About General Event Representations

Our research will allow us to better understand the way children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) think about routine social events, which may help to inform treatment options that help children to better recall their knowledge about the sequence of expected activities in everyday events. This knowledge can help them predict upcoming actions and thus to participate appropriately during these events. What are we doing? Studying the event knowledge of children with ASD, 6 to 12 years old, for a number of familiar routine, social events, as well as less familiar social events.
Your child will be given a small toy and your family will also be entered into a raffle to receive one of eight $25 Amazon gift-cards. For additional information, please click on the title link.
If you are interested in the study please contact the principal investigator, Stephanie Ruggiero, MA, at (516) 547-7897 or by email to schedule a time to participate in the study.

Young Children's Knowledge About Categories of Foods

I am studying the ability of children, ages 7-12, with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis to categorize food items. This study has relevance for discovering how we can help our children be more flexible thinkers in everyday life. If you are interested in participating, the following is asked of you and your child: 1. Your child will complete a short cognitive ability test (i.e., IQ test). 2. Your child will then complete a fun categorization task during which he or she will be shown pictures of a food item and asked which of two other food items are the same kind of food as the first item. 3. You will be asked to fill out a 3-part questionnaire (i.e., demographic information, 2 measures assessing autism symptoms). It should take no longer than 50 minutes for all parts to be completed. We can meet at a quiet and convenient location for you. Contact information: Lauren Steinbeck, M.A or call 732-947-6395.


We are looking for people who are 18 years and older with developmental disabilities to complete a survey asking questions about transportation. Developmental disabilities: 1) start at birth or during childhood; 2) are expected to continue throughout the person’s life; and 3) impact the person’s ability to perform in major life activities. Please click on above link for more information.
Description: autismMatch is a research registry in which children and adults with or without ASD are asked to create a profile in order to be matched with currently enrolling research studies. The profile requests basic contact and background information. Participants will be contacted through email periodically when their profile matches the recruitment criteria for a new research study.

Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS)
In an attempt to learn about patterns of brain development in children, we are studying the differences in brain patterns between children with autism spectrum disorders and typically developing children. Infants between 3-6 months of age with an older sibling who is diagnosed with an ASD are invited to participate. At the end of the study, you will receive an ASD diagnostic assessment and recommendations from our clinician. Families are compensated for time and travel. Please click on title link above for more information.

Research on Autism and Developmental Disorders (ROADD) 
Because there is very little research about the early development of ASD in young children, this study will observe young children to learn more about the biological underpinnings of ASD. Children ages 3-5 with or without a diagnosis of ASD may be eligible to participate. A comprehensive evaluation and written feedback report with recommendations for treatment will be given. Families are compensated for time and travel. Please click on above title link for more information.

Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI) 
This ground-breaking study is looking at possible environmental and genetic links to autism. Mothers who have a biological child with ASD or who less than 28 weeks pregnant and who live in the tristate area are being invited to participate in this study. Mothers will be asked to complete questionnaires, do phone interviews and provide biological samples through pregnancy, at delivery and afterward. Two study visits, one in the clinic with your child with ASD for behavioral and developmental assessments and one at home are required. You will receive autism assessments from clinicians and compensation. Please click on title link for more information.

JAKE App Study
With the use of new mobile app technology, this study aims to develop a mobile app-based system to monitor clinical outcomes in children and adults with ASD vs. typically developing children and adults. Children and adults ages 6 and older with or without ASD may take part. The total time commitment for the study varies depending whether you are typically developing or have ASD. Please click on above title link for more information.

Facing Puberty: Understanding Menses in Females with ASD 
The purpose of this study is to understand the onset, symptoms, and experience of menses for girls with ASD compared to typically developing peers. Girls with and without ASD and one of their parents are being asked to participate. The girls and their parents will be asked to complete several online surveys about their menstrual cycle, level of activity, food preferences and intake, and symptoms of anxiety.

Research Study on the Childbirth Experience
Would you like the chance to talk about your experiences during birth?  Autistic Women are being sought for a study focusing on the childbirth experience. Autistic Women with who have given birth within the past 10 years in an acute care setting such as a hospital and had no complications in themselves or with their baby are invited to participate. All participants will receive a $50.00 Amazon gift at the interview. For more information, please click on the title link above.