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Getting Involved

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute is the first research organization built around a public health science approach to understanding and addressing the challenges of autism spectrum disorders. We invite parents, people on the autism spectrum, physicians, childcare providers and others to participate in research studies to advance the base of knowledge we have on autism from early detection through transition to adulthood. Take a look at the studies below and contact us if you are interested in participating.

For individuals on the autism spectrum

Service Network Coordination and Social Capital Study

The transition to adulthood is a critical turning point in the life course when youth begin to take on adult roles and responsibilities. This study aims to learn about the resources and coordination among youth with autism and their team members during postsecondary transition. Involvement includes an hour-long interview that will help gather information about your transition and help researchers understand who supports you and your family during the transition process. Participants must have/had an IEP autism classification, have/had employment as an IEP transition goal, be enrolled in a secondary school beyond 4 years, and be 18 years of age or older. Participants will be paid $20 for participating in the study.

For parents with a child on the autism spectrum

Addressing the Unmet Needs of Young Children with Autism and Their Working Families

A new study at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University is focusing on how children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) learn when using an evidence-based teaching approach called the Group-Early Start Denver Model. Researchers are partnering with So Love Autistic Center to show that early intervention provided at daycare can improve child outcomes. The child will receive ~15 hours/week of intervention for six months at no cost. Children between 2-4 years old are eligible to participate.This study is funded in part by funds raised through the Eagles Autism Challenge.

The Care of Autistic Pediatric Patients in the Emergency Department: Parent/Legal Guardian and Clinician Perspectives

A new study aims to explore the thoughts and experiences of parents/clinicians regarding the care of autistic children who enter the Emergency Department. Participants will be asked to describe what strategies they have employed or believe should be employed in the Emergency Department to manage behavioral problems, improve communication and assess symptoms. Parents/legal guardians of minor children with autism between the ages of 3 to 13 who had a visit to the Emergency Department within the last 12 months are eligible to participate. Confidential, hour-long interviews will be held by teleconference or in person.

Improving Child-Treatment Fit in Autism Early Intervention Study

The goal of this study is to understand how to adapt teaching techniques to each child's way of learning. The study is open to parents of children ages 24-36 months who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Researchers will provide children with 10, 1-hour teaching sessions per week for three months to address their learning needs at no cost.

Electronic Media Viewing Study

How does removing television and other screen media viewing affect young children with autism? Children ages 18 months-42 months diagnosed with ASD are eligible for this study. Children will be enrolled for 6 months, participate in genetic testing, visit Drexel for child assessment twice, and participate in weekly visits to support a screen-free environment. Participants will receive $100 upon completion of the study.

Communication in Autism Parent Coaching Program

The goal of this study is to test a new program called ‘Communication in Autism Parent Coaching Program’. The program aims to teach parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder how to build their children’s language and communication skills.

For health care and service providers

Connecting the Dots

The Connecting the Dots Study aims to explore how screening and surveillance helps children with autism in the long run. Results from this study will empower providers with evidence-based procedures to detect ASD, optimize care for patients, and improve long-term outcomes. We are now enrolling primary care providers that care for toddlers within a 60-minute drive of Drexel University/30th Street Station Philadelphia, UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, CA, and University of Connecticut (Storrs). This study is part of Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) Network, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

The Care of Autistic Pediatric Patients in the Emergency Department: Parent/Legal Guardian and Clinician Perspectives

A new study aims to explore the thoughts and experiences of clinicians regarding the care of autistic children who enter the Emergency Department. Participants will be asked to describe what strategies they have employed or believe should be employed in the Emergency Department to manage behavioral problems, improve communication and assess symptoms. To be eligible to participate, emergency department clinicians must be physicians, nurses, and physician assistants who have treated autistic children in the emergency department setting within the last 12 months. Confidential, hour-long interviews will be held by teleconference or in person.

There are additional studies not sponsored by the Drexel Autism Institute also looking for participants. Learn more.