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 are including a poster, please submit them in PDF format. For questions or submissions, please contact: research@autismontario.com
  • NEW! 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.
  • NEW! 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.
  • NEW! McMaster University: Study Title: The development of strategies for perceiving facial expressions in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Study Synopsis: Past research has shown that adults with ASD use a rule-based strategy for perceiving facial expressions rather than the prototype-matching strategy employed by typically developed individuals. How individuals with ASD develop this strategy in childhood is currently unknown. This goal of the current study is to explore the development of facial expression perception strategies used by children (age 6 to 16) with and without ASD. The experiment involves two visits to the Rutherford lab, each 1.5 hours in duration. Participants will take part in 3 computer tasks involving judging realism in facial expressions, and discriminating between faces. They will also be tested using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule to control for differences in cognitive functioning and confirm ASD diagnosis. End Date for Recruitment: March 15th, 2015 Click here for more details.
  • 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 perrylab@yorku.ca. 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.
  • University of New England (Australia) Adults with and without an autism spectrum diagnosis (including Asperger’s syndrome), and with fluent English skills, are encouraged to participate in an online sleep study through the University of New England (Australia). Participants can enter the draw to win a $50 iTunes voucher. This study aims to investigate sleep in adults with an autism spectrum diagnosis. It also aims to investigate the relationship between sleep and two features of autism: empathising and systemizing ability. Participants will be asked to answer 11 short questions each morning for 7 days regarding their sleep the night prior (~3 minutes). On one occasion, participants will also complete a puzzle matching task (~5 minutes). On two occasions, participants will complete social etiquette and mechanical reasoning tasks (~15 minutes). On the final day, participants will be asked to provide demographic information and complete two short questionnaires (~7 minutes). Please visit the website for more information.
  • The Autism Research Centre at Holland Bloorview is conducting a research study looking for young people (ages 10-17) with ASD. The overall goal of the study is to see if the medication Syntocinon® (Oxytocin) helps to improve symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, specifically social functioning (e.g. learning how to talk to others, making friends) and repetitive behaviours. The study lasts a total of 24 weeks (about 6 months) and involves taking a nasal spray every day for three months, with a follow up visit three months later. You and your child will first be asked to come in for a screening session; through talking with you and completing some assessments we will determine if your child meets eligibility criteria. If your child meets criteria, then you will then receive either Oxytocin (Syntocinon®) or placebo. Visits will take place every two weeks while your child is taking the drug or placebo.This study also has an optional continuation part, which means that if you were given placebo, you will be able to take Oxytocin (Syntocinon®) at the end of the six months. The same tests and procedures will be followed that were followed during the main study. For more information about this study and to see if you’re eligible, please contact Naomi Peleg at 416-425-6220 ext 3456, npeleg@hollandbloorview.ca
  • The Autism Research Centre at Holland Bloorview is conducting a research study looking for children and young people (ages 6-17) with ASD who have gained weight while taking an antipsychotic medication. The overall goal of the study is to see if the medication Riomet® (Metformin) can stop or decrease this weight gain. Riomet® (Metformin) works by reducing the amount of sugar (glucose) that is absorbed by the body. The study lasts a total of 32 weeks (about 8 months), and is divided into two parts. During the first four months, half the participants will receive Riomet® (Metformin) and half the participants will receive a placebo. This is a "blind" study, which means that neither you nor the researchers will know who is getting the medication or placebo. During the second four months of the study, all of our participants are offered Riomet® (Metformin). During the study, participants come to Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital for several visits (at first every two weeks, and then every month) to make sure everything is going okay. For more information about this study and to see if you’re eligible, please contact: Naomi Peleg 416-425-6220 x 3456; npeleg@hollandbloorview.ca
  • The Autism Research Centre at Holland Bloorview is conducting innovative research programs aimed at improving outcomes and quality of life for children with autism Has your child been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder(ASD, autism, PDD-NOS, or Asperger’s syndrome)? Is your child between 5-12 years of age? We are currently conducting clinical trials to investigate whether Pioglitazone (study drug) helps to decrease symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders, specifically social functioning, repetitive behaviours and hyperactivity. For more information, please contact Allyson Graham at Holland Bloorview: 416-425-6220 ext. 6515 allyson.graham@hollandbloorview.ca
  • Bond University in Australia: At Bond University, we are conducting a study that looks at the various strengths and challenges faced by adults on the autism spectrum. The purpose of this program of research is to assess levels of clinical function, social cognition, and maladaptive behaviour, with the hope to contribute to the body research as well as increase the potential for more resources for adults on the spectrum. Anyone over the age of 18 with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Asperger Syndrome are invited to participate in an online survey - (password is the word “online”, all lower case letters).
  • Simon Fraser University: Are you a parent raising a school-aged child (7-12 years old) living with an Autism Spectrum Disorder? Have you lived in Northwestern Ontario for the past 4 years? Would you like to share your experiences navigating public health services for your child in a novel Photovoice project? Photovoice allows you to document and share your experiences using photographs that you take of your day-to-day experience. If yes, please see the Information Sheet for more information on Health Service Experiences of Families Raising School-Aged Children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in Northwestern Ontario –a new 12 week study in your community. This is a research study that will form part of a Master’s Thesis, which is a public document. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Principal Reseracher Brieanne Olibris by email at bolibris@sfu.ca, who is under the supervision of Dr. Rochelle Tucker.
  • Deakin University in Australia: Researchers at Deakin University are conducting a study that examines how people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and those without this, who are typically developing individuals experience their sexuality. The aim of the study is to help increase awareness so as to develop sex-education programs to help those with ASD, and enhance the understanding offered by family and supporters of persons with ASD. We are seeking individuals with and without ASD aged 18 years and above. We will ask you to complete a few anonymous questionnaires related to your sexual preferences and sexual behavior. We believe this will require about 40 minutes of your time. Click here for more details.
  • York University Researchers in the Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Lab are looking for adults (18 years of age and above) with high functioning ASD (Autism, Asperger syndrome, or PDD-NOS) to participate in a study looking at the factors contributing to experiences of interpersonal violence. We ask participants to complete questionnaires about their experiences and answer a few questions about safety. We are asking participants to meet with a researcher for approximately an hour and a half to two hours. Participants will be provided with a $50 gift card. The results of this study will provide us with an understanding of the factors that may be contributing to interpersonal violence experiences for adults with ASD and may also have important implications in the development of safety training and curriculum development. Participants can email mviecili@yorku.ca for more details on participation. Click here for more details.
  • Ryerson University: At Ryerson University, we are conducting a research study to explore the experience of parents who provide any form of therapy to their children with autism spectrum disorder (e.g. physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioural therapy). The purpose of the study is to explore what it is like to provide therapy to your child. You may be eligible to participate if you are a parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) living in Ontario and you are currently providing therapy or you have provided therapy to your child within the last 5 years. Participation will involve the completion of an online survey, which should take about 20 minutes of your time. Click here for the direct link to the study. For more details, click here for the poster.
  • U of T: I am seeking adult (ages 18-50) game designers, developers, artists or programmers to participate in a Game Jam and in-person, individual interviews for a dissertation case study. I invite interested participants who identify with a disability, chronic illness/pain, emotional trauma, or any of the following: addiction, PTSD, mental illness, eating disorders, Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD to make a game or interactive narrative about their experiences in a Game Jam. Click here for poster.
  • Sick Kids Study: Participants with ASD (aged 7-12yrs) are needed to take part in research studies investigating brain function during cognitive and memory tasks. Volunteers will participate in neuropsychological and neuroimaging testing. Read more.
  • McMaster University: Parents of preschool aged children (3-5 years old) with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – We would like to invite you to participate in a research study called “Development of the Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC)”. This study is led by Dr. Peter Rosenbaum from CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research (www.canchild.ca), and it focuses on preschool aged children (aged 3-5 years) with ASD. This new ACSF:SC is NOT a test or diagnostic assessment for ASD, rather it’s a 5-level strengths-based tool designed to categorize preschool aged children with ASD by their social communication abilities. What it is intended to do is to describe what children CAN do, in a way that is standardized for children with ASD and is easily understood by parents and professionals (such as educators and clinicians). The ACSF:SC tool is currently at the final stage of testing for its accuracy and looking for families to participate! The study will involve two parts of your participation. As a token of appreciation for participating families, a $25 gift card will be provided after the completion of each part. Please click here to view our recruitment flyer for more information.
  • York University: The Perceptual Neuroscience Laboratory at York University is seeking individuals with a diagnosis of high functioning ASD aged 12 years to 50 years of age. We are measuring auditory and audiovisual processing using a number of computer 'games'. In addition, we are also measuring sounds within the ear with a tiny microphone while sitting quietly in a chair. This will help us to better understand how sensory information is processed. Click here for the poster.
  • Bloorview Kids Rehab: Transitioning to Employment and Volunteer Work in Ontario - Online Survey: New research study at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. We are trying to understand how to best support youth with autism who are transitioning from high school to employment and volunteer work. We are looking for youth with autism (ages 14-25) and/or their parents to complete an online survey. The survey will take 30-45 minutes to complete. To participate, please contact the research team at autismtransitionstudy@hollandbloorview.ca. Please click here to view our research poster.
  • Ryerson University in Toronto: We are conducting a music-based behavioural training study involving playing a computer game daily for 2 weeks, and measuring brain activity involved in empathy using EEG. We are hoping to find gains in social skills and emotion recognition following therapy. Children will receive a $25 mall gift card as a thank-you for participating, and families will receive $50 to compensate them for travel expenses. If you are interested in participating, please contact me at lmcgarry@psych.ryerson.ca. Ongoing until December, 2014 Click here for the flier.
  • McMaster Study: Unusually Intense, Restricted Interests in Autism We are looking for individuals between 16 and 35 years, with a high functioning autism spectrum disorder and an unusually intense interest in one or more things/hobbies. An unusual preoccupation with the weather, watching a specific movie or with going to the mall are some examples of the types of interests we are looking for. The purpose of our study is to investigate the link between genes and these types of preoccupied, restricted behaviours (known as circumscribed interests). It is a two hour, paid study, and we invite interested individuals to contact Jenna Traynor from McMaster University's Developmental Neuroscience Lab (traynoj@mcmaster.ca or 905.525.9140 ext 24784). The study involves eye tracking, questionnaires and a quick and painless cheek swab to use for genetic testing. Click here for the poster.
  • University of Toronto doctoral student - Are you a parent of a child with special needs or disabilities? Are you also lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ)? I am a doctoral student in social work at the University of Toronto. I am currently interviewing LGBTQ parents who have children with suspected or identified special needs. If you are interested in more information about this project, or you know of anyone who might be interested in participating, please contact me at (416) 890-0357 or margaret.gibson@mail.utoronto.ca. View the poster.
  • Research Study - Sir Wilfred Laurier graduate student - You are invited to participate in a research study exploring the lived experiences of parents and grandparents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The goal of this research is to understand the lived experiences of the support system of children with ASD. I am looking for both parent and grandparent participation. Please contact me (Kaitlin O'Donnell) via e-mail at oxdo1200@mylaurier.ca View the poster
  • York University The Children’s Learning Projects Research Lab at York University is looking for participants! We are a research team led by Dr. James Bebko at York University. Our team is dedicated to the study of how children, adolescents, and adults learn about, process, and understand their world. Our research team investigates the language abilities and cognitive skills in typically developing children, children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Intellectual Disabilities, Deafness/deafness and Attention Difficulties (ADHD/ADD).
    - We are looking for participants between the ages of 3 and 40 years with Autism Spectrum Disorder (including Asperger Syndrome).
    - We are also looking for participants with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder between the ages of 6 – 16 years. We have several ongoing studies, all of which take between 1 -2 hours.
    Please Contact us: Children’s Learning Projects Lab
    Phone: 416-650-8495 Email: bebkolab@yorku.ca
    Web:
    https://bebko.apps01.yorku.ca/clp/
    Click here for the flier.
  • University of Toronto study: They are conducting research on narrative comprehension in adolescents with high-functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger syndrome, and in typically developing adolescents. To learn more about the study or find out how to participate click here.
  • University of Windsor study (Doctoral student) - looking for parents whose children is receiving or has received the Ontario IBI program. Please click here to access Research Questionnaire. If you would like to receive a printed version of the survey and stamped return address envelope, or if you would like to receive the survey by phone, please contact Michelle Turan by email turan@uwindsor.ca or phone 905.220.6662
  • Online Study for Parents through Queen's University: Parents of children between the ages of 5-12 diagnosed with ASD needed to participate in an online study at Queen’s University. The study will require you to complete questionnaires about your child’s behaviours and emotional responses. All verbal abilities and levels of functioning welcome. The study is being conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Kelley's lab at Queen's University. The study is completely confidential and non-invasive. To participate, please click here and enter the password asdstudy. For more information, please contact: Laurel Dault at asd@queensu.ca (613-533-2894)
  • Music-based behavioural intervention study for detailed parent information click here. For information on the study click here
  • University of Western Study: The Written Expression Skills of Children and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum. Read more.
  • Go4kidds Study: Social Inclusion Study - This study will involve 6- to 12-year old children with moderate to severe Developmental Disabilities. The goal is to observe social inclusion in the community and/or school through observation of the child, questionnaires, andinterviews with parents, teachers and/or community leaders. Read more.

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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