Research Studies
The following is a list of some of the ASD research studies currently being conducted in Canada and abroad. Each study calls for participants with an ASD diagnosis.

Prior to posting these research study requests, the submitter must provide Autism Ontario with a copy of their approved Code of Ethics, a Synopsis of the Thesis, a timeline for the posting and details regarding how interested subjects may participate.(this may include a flyer). Please visit this site regularly to check out what studies are currently available.

Researchers: Please include the text you'd like included in the posting along with the end date for recruitment. If you would like to include a poster link, please include the URL. For questions or submissions, please contact:
  • NEW! York University Study: The purpose of this study is to better understand the health and medication use of youth with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The study will collect information on issues such as rates of medication use, side-effects, physician care, and parent knowledge and concern regarding medication use. Information from this study may be used to provide information and support for physicians and parents caring for children with ASD who are currently using medication. In the long-term, information from this study has the potential to improve the health outcomes of youth with ASD. We are seeking parents of children between the ages of 2 and 19 with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder to participate in an ONLINE SURVEY. The survey should take 15-20 minutes to complete. If you have any questions about the study please contact Busi Ncube at If you would like to participate in the study please follow the link:
  • NEW! CAMH Research Study: Caregivers Needed for Online Survey - Are you caring for someone with a long-term health or mental health condition? We need your help to test an online survey. The survey should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. At the end of the survey, you will be able to view some preliminary results. As well, you will have the opportunity to select a caregiver organization to receive an honorarium payment of $5 on behalf of the Family/Friend Caregiver Survey. Goal of the survey: To learn more about the benefits and challenges of caregiving. This information will help inform health care decision-making in Ontario, with the goal of improving caregiver supports and services. Who can participate: Anyone who has provided unpaid help in the past 12 months to family, friends, or neighbours because of a long-term health condition, physical or mental disability, mental illness, substance use/addiction condition, or problems related to aging. A long-term health condition is one that has lasted or is expected to last 6 months or longer. This includes if the person you have cared for has died in the past 12 months. To access the survey, click here. For more information: Contact Tiziana Volpe, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, at 416-535-8501, x 30751 or The survey is being developed by researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University of Toronto’s Health System Performance Research Network (HSPRN). The survey is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.
  • NEW! Dalhousie University Research Study: Sleep and Autism: Treatment Barriers and Facilitators - Did you know that between 50-70% of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have behavioural sleep problems, called insomnia? Very few children with ASD receive help for their insomnia, but it is treatable.
    We are seeking parents of children aged 4-12 years old with ASD and sleep problems. The purpose of this online study is to learn about parents’ experiences seeking and using treatment for insomnia in their children with ASD. We want to learn what helps and what doesn’t help families’ access to and use of treatment. This study will involve completing online questionnaires and participating in online, regional focus groups. Participation should take no more than 2 hours of your time. The study is being conducted through the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Parents will be eligible to win a $50 gift card from!
    Focus groups will take place between Sept. 19 – Oct. 4, 2015 and will be scheduled using a Doodle Poll.
    To find out whether you are eligible to participate, please visit:
    For more information, contact Study Investigator Kim Tan-MacNeill ( or visit our Facebook page:
  • NEW! McMaster University - Childhood Autism Social Skills Assessment (CASSA) Study, Principal Investigator: Amber Rieder, Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Geoff Hall
    Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is generally assessed and diagnosed using interviews or observation-type assessments. These types of assessments, however, fail to directly measure the individual’s skill level and aptitude in different areas of impairment. The purpose of this study is to develop a computerized assessment for ASD. The goal is to directly measure social/cognitive skills by collecting descriptive and experimental evidence for a range of potential tasks to be included in the performance based assessment currently under development. We are looking for children and adolescents between 5 and 25 years of age. We are looking for participants both with and without a diagnosis of ASD. Parking and prices provided for participating.
    How it works. If you and your family decide to participate, you’ll come visit us at McMaster University once or twice to participate in our computer based assessment for 1-2 hours. When you arrive at McMaster University, you will be met at the front door of the psychology building. You will get to visit our laboratory where we will talk a bit about the study and then you will get to participate in our computerized games. The games will take from a half hour to 2 hours. When you are done, we will talk a little about how you liked the games and you will get to pick a prize! For more information, please contact Amber Reider by email (
  • NEW! University of Toronto - Teenagers with ASDs often get a lot of pleasure from reading, but they can find some aspects of fiction challenging - especially when it comes to navigating the literature curriculum at school. Researchers at the U of T would like to learn more about how teenagers with high functioning autism or Asperger syndrome engage with fiction and build up a mental picture of the story.
    If you are the parent of a teenager (13-18) who is in mainstream school, we would love to hear from you! The study involves one 90-minute session. Your child would read two short stories complete some brief vocabulary and picture tasks. Every participant will receive a $25 gift card from a choice of retailers as a token of appreciation.
    To learn more, please contact Ruth Lee, PhD candidate at or on 647-539-8436
  • NEW! St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton Have you been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD, autism, PDD-NOS, or Asperger’s syndrome)? Are you between 18-45 years of age?
    We are currently conducting clinical trials to investigate whether Intranasal Oxytocin helps to improve symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically social functioning and repetitive behaviours.
    To learn more about this study, please contact: Iulia Patriciu at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton 905-522-1155 ext. 39774, or via email
  • NEW! Western University and London Health Sciences Centre - A Pilot Study of Riluzole vs. Placebo in the Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
    Are you the parent of a child or teen between the ages of 6 and 17 with autism? If so, your child may qualify for a research study of a new treatment at Western University and London Health Sciences Centre. Doctors there are studying the effects of a medication called riluzole on symptoms in children and teens with autism.
    For more information about this study, please call (519) 685-8427 or email That’s (519) 685-8427 or
  • NEW! McMaster University Currently there are no medications approved to treat the core deficits of autism (social skills, repetitive behaviours). McMaster University/McMaster Children’s Hospital is conducting a research study to investigate whether the drug Riluzole may be helpful with these symptoms. Riluzole is a drug that is already Health Canada & FDA approved for treating adults with a neurological disorder.
    Why is Riluzole being studied as a treatment for ASD? The human brain is never quiet: every region constantly fires electrical signals. Some signals are loud and clear and others are muffled murmurs. In autism, the background murmurs are hard to tune out and the brain becomes noisy, making it difficult to receive clear signals. Its like trying to have a private conversation in a crowded room, some words get lost and the message is hard to understand.
    Who can participate? Children aged 6-17 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD, Autism, PDD-NOS, or Asperger’s Syndrome) may be eligible. You do not have to reside within the hospital’s catchment area in order to participate. Expenses related to participation (e.g. parking, cost of drug) will be paid for by the study. Participants will also receive compensation for their time as a token of appreciation.
    How do I know if this trial would be a good fit for my child? Decisions about medication always require careful consideration. Dr. Bennett will meet with you at the beginning to provide information and discuss whether this study is right for you and your child.
    How do I learn more? To learn more, or to participate, please contact Dr. Teresa Bennett’s Research office at 905-521-2100 extension 74906.
  • NEW! Georgian Court University - Employed Parents of Children with Disabilities
    This study is being conducted by researchers at Georgian Court University in the United States. We are hoping to gain a better understanding of how child, worker, and workplace characteristics impact one’s ability to manage multiple roles and to find work-family life balance. This is an area where little research exists even though many parents of children with disabilities are employed. To participate in this study you (or your partner) need to be employed at least part time and you must have a child who has been diagnosed as having a disability (e.g., ASD, learning disability). Your participation will involve responding to a brief online survey asking about your experiences at home and at work. You can access the
    survey here
  • NEW! University of Windsor Study: Young adults (age 17-25 years old) who have a sibling with a developmental disability (ie. ASD, autism, PDD-NOS, Global Developmental Delay, etc.) are invited to participate in an online study at the University of Windsor. The purpose of the study is to explore young adults’ perceptions about their role towards their sibling(s) and parents, as well as examining their response and management of stress and their emotional functioning. The study takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete online. All participants will be offered a $5 electronic gift card to Amazon, as a token of appreciation for their time. If you or anyone you know would be interested in learning more about the study, please contact Aranda Wingsiong for more information at: Phone: 519-253-3000 x 4716 or by Email :
  • University of Victoria Parents, do you have a children with and without ASD between the ages of 10 and 17 years? Would you like to participate in a research study looking at how children and teenagers use the Internet?
    We are looking for children and teenagers, who have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and children and teenagers who do not have a diagnosis of any kind, to participate in an online study about their online behaviours. We are doing this study so that we can learn about the experiences of children and teenagers with technology (e.g., the Internet and cell phones), bullying, and cyberbullying. With permission from a parent, you will complete an online questionnaire that takes about 30-90 minutes to complete. We also ask that your parents answer some questions. You will be eligible to win a $50 Amazon gift card for participating!

    To complete the study, please
    click here.. No login is required. Thank you for taking the time to consider participation in this study.
  • University of Toronto Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education is recruiting high functioning children and adolescents with ASD for two studies investigating how children and adolescents with autism understand the bodies and actions of themselves and others. These studies will take place at the University of Toronto's Athletic Centre and the time commitment is one 60-90 minute session. The process involves completing a non-verbal IQ test and 2 30 minute experiments involving a button pressing task and interaction with a touch screen monitor. Participants are compensated $20 for their time and any additional parking or public transportation costs up to $10. Participants must be able to comprehend verbal instructions and communicate with experimenters. Additionally, participants should have normal or corrected to normal vision (glasses/contacts are permitted but participants must not be colour blind), be right handed and not have any additional neurological disorders involving the motor or cognitive systems. If participants are interested they should contact Sandra Pacione or Emma Yoxon at 1-416-978-6109 or at Thank You!
  • McGill University: New online survey available examining the self-determination of young Canadian adults with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders
    Keeley White, a doctoral student in the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University along with her supervisor Dr. Tara Flanagan, are conducting this study across Canada.
    We are currently looking for young adults (18-30 years) who live in Canada, have an official diagnosis of or identify as having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (e.g., Aspergers, PDD-NOS) and do not have an intellectual disability (i.e., high functioning) to participate in an exciting new research study.
    Self-determined behaviour refers to behaviour that is caused or determined by the person as opposed to being caused by someone or something else (e.g., choice-making, decision making, problem solving, and goal setting and attainment). These behaviours are particularly important in adulthood and in helping individuals successfully complete high school; gain employment, postsecondary education, independent living; participate in the community; and experience personal and social relationships.
    We want to better understand self-determination and find out what matters most! Your voice is important and we need to hear from you!
    If you decide to participate, you will be asked to complete an anonymous online survey that will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. As a small token of appreciation, the researcher is offering a $15 gift certificate to participants who complete the full survey.
    If you would like to participate in this study, please
    click here to access the McGill Self-determination in young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (SD in ASD) Survey to complete the online survey.
    For more information, contact Keeley White at
  • Wilfred Laurier University: Researchers at at Wilfred Laurier University are looking for people diagnosed with an ASD between the ages of 16 and 60 to help them investigate speech production. See the flier for more details.
  • York University Study: Are women with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families receiving the services and supports they need? Do their service experiences differ from men with ASD and/or typically developing women? Researchers in the Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Lab at York University are interested in learning more about the service experiences of women with ASD and their families. We are currently looking for women with ASD (18 years of age or older) and their families to participate in focus groups (i.e., small discussion groups) at York University (exact time and location to be determined). Participation is expected to take approximately 1.5 hours. All participants will receive a $50 gift certificate. For more information, please contact Ami Tint by email (amitint at or phone (416 736-2100 ext. 44032)
  • Sick Kids Study: Participants with ASD (aged 8-13 yrs) are needed to take part in research studies investigating brain function during social cognitive tasks. Volunteers will participate in neuropsychological and neuroimaging testing. Participants will receive pictures of their brain and compensation for their travel expenses and their time. For more information, please contact Please see the poster for more details.
  • BRAIN STIMULATION at CAMH: Researchers at CAMH are looking for individuals between the ages of 16- 25 with high functioning autism spectrum disorder to take part in a study to explore repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) as a potential treatment for executive function (thinking) problems. If you have a diagnosis of high functioning autism, an average or above average (<80) IQ, fluent in the English language, do not have a history of seizures or a first degree relative with epilepsy and do not have a history of substance abuse/dependence in the last 6 months and experience executive function challenges (e.g., planning, organizing, completing tasks) please contact Katharine Coons at or at 416-535-8501 (ext. 30217) for further information. Participants will receive $10 dollars for every hour as well as TTC tokens. NOTE: If you are 12-15 or 25-30 years old and have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder you may be able to participate in part of this study (brain imaging and thinking tests)
  • Researchers at Holland Bloorview's Autism Research Centre: Are you between 18-45 years of age? We are currently conducting clinical trials to investigate whether Intranasal Oxytocin helps to improve symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically social functioning and repetitive behaviours. To learn more about this study, please contact: Rianne Hastie Adams at Holland Bloorview 416-425-6220 ext. 6515, or via email to
  • SickKids: Adult Neuroimaging Study: Adults with ASD (20 years or older) are invited to participate in research studies investigating brain function during emotional processing tasks at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Volunteers will participate in neuropsychological and neuroimaging testing. Participants will receive pictures of their brain, travel expenses and compensation for their time. For more information, please contact Rachel at 416-813-7654 ext. 304299 or
  • Western University: Doctors at Children's Hospital of Western Ontario are looking for participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder to participate in a new study medication (riluzole) trial. Click here for details.
  • University of Toronto: From the Margins: Voices of Youth with disabilities on friendship, inclusion and quality of life - Research project. A project about friendship and important relationships in your life. Click here to read the poster.
  • McMaster University: The Rutherford Child Development Lab is conducting a study on the development of face perception in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are looking for children between the age 6 to 16 and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (high functioning). The study will involve two visits, each 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. The first visit involves participating in 3 computer tasks related to faces, and a variety of activities relating to memory, numbers, puzzles, and vocabulary. The second visit involves participating in fun games and activities, such as make-believe, playing with toys, and story-telling. Free parking is provided for the entire duration of the study, and participants will receive $15 to $20 for each visit. See our poster for more details (attach poster). For more information, please contact Haichao Zhang at (905) 525-9140 ext. 26033 (leave a message if no one picks up), or email at Click here for the poster.
  • NEW! York University Mothers of children with a developmental disability (e.g., ASD, autism, PDD-NOS, Global Developmental Delay, etc.) are invited to participate in a study being conducted at York University. The purpose of this study is to understand the experience of South Asian Immigrant and Canadian mothers raising a child with autism and/or DD, in order to identify better ways of supporting mothers. If you are a South Asian Immigrant (from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Nepal or Afghanistan) or Canadian (born and raised in Canada) mother of a 5-21 year old child diagnosed with autism/ASD/other developmental disabilities, you can participate in this study. There are two parts to this study. First you will need to complete a questionnaire (30-45 mins) that can be done online or in a paper pencil format. To complete the questionnaire in paper pencil format: Call 416-736-2100 ext 40266 and ask for Nidhi Luthra, or email To complete the questionnaire online (30-45mins): South Asian immigrant mothers, click here and use the password matexsa. Canadian mothers can click here and use the password matexcan. In the second part, some mothers will also be contacted for an in person follow up interview. All participants will be offered $35 as a token of appreciation for their time and input. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nidhi or look at our flyer for more information.

Research Committee
Autism Ontario strongly supports research in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our Research Committee provides direction to the organization by identifying priority areas and advising where our support and funds should be directed. A large component of the funding we provide goes to research scholarships, which encourage students to pursue a career in the field, and particularly in the area of ASD research.  

Autism Ontario's Research Committee, comprised of researchers and community leaders in the Autism field, are currently the following:
  • Anita Acheson
  • Dr. James Bebko (chair)
  • Laura Cavanagh
  • Dr. Mary Konstantareas
  • Aliya Rahim
  • Dr. Glenn Rampton
  • Margaret Spoelstra
The Supplementary Resource Group serves as a resource to the Research Committee and other groups of Autism Ontario. The Resource Group can consist of researchers, parents, community agency representatives, and others interested in reviewing scholarship applications and providing input to other Autism Ontario groups on an ad hoc basis.

Research Scholarships
To find out about our research scholarships, please click here.

Partners in Research
Autism Ontario actively supports organizations whose work focuses on research.

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