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November 9, 2006

Toddlers needed for brain development study

Researchers who are trying to unlock the secrets of what causes some children to have delayed development are looking for 25 children who are delayed in some aspect of their development and 25 typically developing children 18 to 30 months of age from the Puget Sound area to participate in a University of Washington study.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will compare three groups of youngsters in terms of their social, language and cognitive abilities and their brain development at the UW’s Autism Center. Toddlers with autism for the study have already been recruited. Typical and delayed youngsters are crucial because they will allow researchers to discover the differences in brain structure and function that contribute uniquely to developmental delay and to autism.

Parents who are interested in the study who have youngsters who are developing normally or have youngsters who have delays in development can call the UW to find out if they qualify for the study. Families will receive up to $250 for participating. Parents of the developmentally delayed children also will receive a written report documenting their child’s skills which can be used for educational planning and interventions. All parents will have to opportunity to receive verbal feedback about their child’s skills.

Toddlers in the study will participate in play sessions and complete tasks that are measures of memory, language and cognition. In addition, they will have electroencephalograph (EEG) brain scans taken while they look at pictures. EEG is noninvasive and measures brain activity. It shows how the brain functions. The typically developing children also will have their brains scanned with magnetic resonance imaging. This imaging technique is also noninvasive and measures brain structure and chemistry. Parents are present for all activities.

Parents who have questions about the study or would like to have their child participate should contact the UW Autism Center toll free at 1-888-288-6162 or uwstaart@u.washington.edu .

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For more information, contact Jessica Greenson at 616-8098 or greenson@u.washington.edu