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: research@autismontario.com
  • 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 tiziana.volpe@camh.ca. 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 www.amazon.ca!
    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:
    http://tinyurl.com/parenteligibility
    For more information, contact Study Investigator Kim Tan-MacNeill (k.tanmacneill@dal.ca) or visit our Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/sleepandASD
  • 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 (riedera@mcmaster.ca).
  • 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 rj.lee@mail.utoronto.ca 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 ipatrici@mcmaster.ca
  • 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 uwoautism@gmail.com. That’s (519) 685-8427 or uwoautism@gmail.com.
  • 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 : wingsio@uwindsor.ca
  • NEW! 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.
  • NEW! The 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 action.attention.lab@utoronto.ca. Thank You!
  • NEW! 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 $15 gift certificate to participants who complete the full survey.
    If you would like to participate in this study, please
    click here to access the McGill Self-determination in young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (SD in ASD) Survey to complete the online survey.
    For more information, contact Keeley White at mcgillsdinasd@gmail.com
  • NEW! University of Windsor: Researchers at the University of Windsor are looking for fathers (including biological, step-, adoptive, foster-, grand-, etc.) that are raising a son aged 4-11 with Autism Spectrum Disorder, to participate a study. The research goal is interested in identifying how play is an important characteristic to the father-child relationship and father well-being. Participants will be offered a 5$ electronic gift card for Amazon, and it is expected that participation will take approximately 20-35 minutes. Please contact Jason Bloom for more information at: bloomj@uwindsor.ca, 519-551-3134. Please see the poster for more details
  • NEW! 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.
  • NEW! 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 yorku.ca) or phone (416 736-2100 ext. 44032)
  • NEW! 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 brain.study@sickkids.ca. Please see the poster for more details.
  • NEW! 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 katharine.coons@camh.ca 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)
  • NEW! 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: Allyson Graham at Holland Bloorview 416-425-6220 ext. 6515, or via email to allyson.graham@hollandbloorview.ca
  • 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 rachel.leung@sickkids.ca.
  • 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 mcmasterpsychologystudy@gmail.com. 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 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.
  • 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
  • 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.

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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