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Research Studies and Clinical Trials for Children With Autism

Alexian Brothers Neuroscience Institute
Jacque Bursott
800 Biesterfield Road, Suite 610
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(847) 981-3690
Cook County
Study looking at auditory processing and language skills in children with autism, Asperger's disorder or normal control. This study includes but is not limited to brain imaging. Eligible candidates will receive brain imaging procedures.
Age eligibility: 10-16 years (potentially able to accept young adults outside of this age range).
Cost: no fee.
No wait list.

The Autism Program of Illinois
Rebecca Gerhard Suitein, PhD
(813) 968-3003
Cost: eligible participants receive a $200 stipend from Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.  Research requires to complete a form about your child or a child in your classroom.
No wait list.

Boston University
Study: Time Use Study of Adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: Media and Friends

Department of Occupational Therapy
Principal investigator: Hsin-Yu (Melissa) Kuo, doctoral candidate
635 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 309-0531
Faculty advisor: Gael Orsmond, PhD
(617) 353-2703
The aim of the study is to explore how adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder use media (watching television and using a computer), how they spend time with friends, their psychological well-being, and their relationships with parents and friends. Short phone interview screening will determine eligibility. Parents will receive a $10 gift certificate and the young adult receives a $20 certificate (to a variety of stores, e.g. GameStop and Barnes and Noble).
Age eligibility: 12-18 years.
No wait list. For more information or participation.

Developmental Disabilities Family Clinics
Institute on Disability and Human Development

Parents: We want to hear from you. We are interested in hearing from parents of teen-aged girls (ages 13-17) with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders to help plan future programming.
Please take a few minutes to fill out take this anonymous survey.  Thank you!! Questions or concerns can be directed to:
Nicole Quintero, PhD, BCBA-D,

Loyola University Chicago
The Healthy Adjustment in Teens Study (HATS)

Principal investigators: Rebecca Wasserman, MA, and Amy Bohnert, PhD
(773) 508-2962
Cook County
Researchers are conducting a study to understand what contributes to better adjustment in high functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and are looking for participants. To be in the study, your child must have a current diagnosis of autism, Asperger's disorder, or pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), read at a sixth grade level, and verbally communicate on a regular basis with family and peers. You and your child will answer questions about your child's adjustment, social abilities, friendship quality and executive function abilities. You and your child will be given the option of filling out paper measures or completing the measures online. It should take approximately 35 minutes for parents and ten minutes for youth to fill out the forms.
Age eligibility: 12-17 years.
Cost: You will earn a $10 Target gift card for your participation in this study.

Midwestern University Occupational Therapy Program
Contact: Sheila Williford
(630) 515-6188
Wanted: Occupational therapy researchers seeking young adults with Asperger's Syndrome or HFA between the ages of 16-30 years.
We want to learn about the challenges and ways you adjusted to transition from high school into more adult roles. Participation will involve an interview that will last up to one hour. The interview will occur at a place and time that works best for you. We would also like to interview parents of individulas with AS/HFA.

The National Institute of Mental Health
Autism Spectrum Disorders and Repetitive Thoughts and Behaviors in Children and Adolescents — Has Medication Not Helped?

Pediatrics and Developmental Neuropsychiatry Branch
Contact: Lorraine Lougee, LCSW-C
10 Center Drive, MSC 1255, Building 10, Room 4N208
Bethesda, MD 20892-1255
(301) 435-6652 or (301) 496-5323
The purpose of this research study: To study riluzole for obessessive-compulsive symptoms in children and adolescents. Children must be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder with severe repetitive thoughts and behaviors, or have moderate to severe obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Children must be currently taking, or have taken, a medication for repetitive thoughts and behaviors. Be able to participate in an initial one-day outpatient evaluation and brief outpatient visits approximately monthly for six months, and at months 9 and 12, at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. Children must forego any cognitive-behavioral therapy during the 12-week study.
Age eligibility: 7-17 years.
Cost: There is no cost for research study participation. Travel assistance may be provided. Parental consent is required.

Northwestern University
Child Language Study of Children with Autism, Fragile X Syndrome, Down Syndrome and Typical Development

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Molly Losh
2240 Campus Drive
Frances Searle Building, Room 2-340
Evanston, IL 60208
(877) 275-7187
Cook County
This project studies the speech and language of children with fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and children who are developing typically. They are currently recruiting participants to identify factors affecting children's language development; determine how language skills change as children get older; and describe characteristics of children's conversational and narrative skills in different contexts. Their staff will visit your child once a year for three years. This visit may take place in your child's school, home, a local clinic or laboratory offices at Northwestern University. All children must also use English as the primary language spoken in their home and communicate verbally in three-word phrases. Participation includes the following: assessment of your child's language development; completion of questionnaires and a possible interview about your child; permission to ask your child's teacher to complete questionnaires; and children with fragile X syndrome and/or autism may be asked to provide a blood sample.
Age eligibility: 3-14 years.
Cost: for year each of participation, you will receive $40 and a written summary of your child's communication skills.

Northwestern University
Seeking individuals with an autism spectrum disorder for a research study to improve job interview skills.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Contact: Emily Ginger
446 E. Ontario, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 695-4293
Requirements: must have an autism spectrum disorder; one- to three-hour visits at the research office; unemployed or underemployed; and actively seeking employment.
Participation includes: computer simulated job interviews, interview role-plays and learning and memory assessments.
Age eligibility: 18-65 years.
You will be compensated for your time and travel.

Northwestern University
Currently seeking enrollment for families of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Click on the link above.

Rush NeuroBehavioral Center
Is your child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and does your child struggle to read emotion from facial expressions?

Contact: Jason Johnson, B.S., study coordinator
4711 W. Golf Road, Suite 1100
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 763-7988
Cook County
If your child meets the following criteria, s/he may be eligible for the research study: autism spectrum disorder diagnosis; average or above average intellectual functioning; and experiences difficulty with recognizing emotion from facial expressions.
Age eligibility: 8-14 years.
The study involves telephone pre-screening parent interview; screening assessment of your child's ability to perceive nonverbal cues from facial expressions (approx. three hours); twice weekly training sessions (up to one hour/session) for up to eight weeks; immediate post assessment and follow up to six weeks after completion; completion of questionnaires regarding your child's social and emotional learning skills; no fee for assessment or intervention; and feedback for parents.

Rush NeuroBehavioral Center
Recruitment Call for Research Study
Virtual Environment for Social Information Processing (VESIP)
Do you have an 8-12 year old typically developing child or a child who is on the austism spectrum? Do they like computers? Do they like to participate in research?
To learn more and to see if your child qualifies for this research study, please call or email. Testing is set to begin soon!
Contact: Jason Johnson, B.S., study coordinator
4711 W. Golf Road, Suite 1100
Skokie, IL 60076
(847) 763-7988
Cook County
Under the direction of Nicole Russo-Ponsaran, researchers are conducting a free study investigating the validity of new computer-based and game-like social-emotional learning assessment tool.
Age eligibility: 8-12 years. 
Cost: Participation is free and participants will receive a $20 gift card!

Rush University Medical Center
The Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment, and Services (AARTS) Program

Latha Soorya, PhD, BCBA, principal investigator
Sarah Youngkin, research coordinator
Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
2150 W. Harrison St.
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5431 (Sarah Youngkin)
Cook County
We are studying the effects of an investigational drug on motor skills, language, and memory.
Who can participate? Your child may participate if he or she is 6-12 years old; may have autism, Asperger's, or pervasive developmental disorder-NOS; speaks using phrases on a daily basis; has difficulty with motor skills (e.g. coordination, hand-writing); does not have a history of premature birth, abnormal MRI, or neurological (epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis), hematological, and cardiovascular disease; has never taken the following medications: d-cycloserine, riluzole, memantine.
What is involved? A comprehensive evaluation including diagnostic, cognitive, language, motor, and memory testing. Participation in a 6-month trial. Your child may receive either the study medication or placebo (sugar pill). Regular visits to the ARTS program at Rush University for you and your child. Monitoring by a study physician and psychologist to assess changes. Compensation for evaluation and study visits.

University of Illinois at Chicago
Are you a social entrepreneur with an intellectual disability? Do you have a business, microenterprose, or non-profit?

Where: Interviews will be held in the Chicago area. You will be able to choose the date and place that works best for you. There will be two interviews. Each interview will last one hour and you will be paid $30 for being part of this research.
You can participate if you: have an intellectual or developmental disability; live in the Chicago area; and have a business or non-profit.
Age eligibility: 18-64 years.
Why? This research is part of a project looking at social entrepreneurship as a pathway to employment for people with disabilities in Chicago. As part of our research, we are particularly interested in including the voices of social entrepreneurs with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Contact: Kate Caldwell by email at or by phone ar (312) 996-4711.

University of Illinois at Chicago
Health and Lifestyles Comparison of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Parent Survey

Contact: Sheila Swann-Guerrero
(773) 699-6873
Faculty Sponsor: James Rimmer, PhD
(312) 413-9651
You are invited to participate in an online confidential survey concerned with the health, and physical activity lifestyles of teens with ASD and their siblings with ASD. This study is being done for a thesis project of the University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Disability and Human Development.
Who: Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and their child with ASD who is between 12-18 years old.
Why: Your information will help us better understand what factors are related to children with autism spectrum disorder being physically active. All information is kept confidential.
How: Participation is simple. Both you and your children are invited to complete a five-minute online survey.
Download survey here. For more information or if you have difficulty accessing the survey, please contact Sheila Swann-Guerrero.

University of Illinois at Chicago
Contact: Susan Cahill (PhD student)
If interested, call (708) 214-7174 or email
Study focuses on understanding the perspectives of parents of youth with an autism spectrum disorder as it relates to educational experiences. Eligibility requirements include the ability to participate in a discussion with a relative stranger for 30-40 minutes about pictures. They must have the ability to ask other individuals whether or not they would mind having their photograph taken and have the ability to respond to the individual's answer. They must receive special education and/or related services. They must be able to follow written or picture checklists and should be permitted and encouraged by their teachers and other school personnel to take photographs throughout the school day.
Age eligibility: 14 1/2 to 21 years.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
African American Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Needed for Research on Experiences Accessing Services

Jamie Pearson at (217) 333-0260
Hedda Meaden at (217) 333-0260
About the project: As a participant, you will complete two 10-minute surveys and be interviewed face-to-face for approximately one hour. This will help us to understand the experiences of African American families when accessing services in school and outside of school for children with ASD. We believe that your experiences will help to inform the practices in schools and homes, particularly for children of color with autism.
Potential Participants: Please consider participating in this study if: you are an African American parent or caregiver of an African American child who has a primary diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and your child is in grades K-5 at a public school in Illinois and qualifies for special education and related services. In appreciation for your time, you will receive $50 for participating in this study.

If you are interested in adding your organization or would like to make changes to a current listing on our website, please contact Natalie Forburger, LCPC, at (312) 563-2272 or