Your child may be eligible to participate in one of our research projects. Your family's involvement will help advance the effort to understand, diagnose, and treat autism. Participating families will gain valuable insight into their child’s cognitive, verbal, and social development. Additionally, families receive a comprehensive report based on the standard measures used so that our Center can compare your child to his/her peers of the same age. The discoveries made from our research depends upon the participation of families like yours!
Parents concerned about their infant or toddler’s development
Your child may be eligible to participate in one of our research projects. Benefits to children and their families vary by study and include comprehensive assessments that provide information about your child’s development as well as research-based treatment.
Below is an outline of what you can expect by participating. There are 2 major components to our study program:
- Free, comprehensive developmental evaluations conducted by a PhD level clinical psychologist performed 6-12 months apart. Each evaluation appointment lasts approximately 3.5-4 hours in duration. At the conclusion of testing, the clinical psychologist will review the results with you and write a report outlining your child’s performance when needed. In this manner, you will be able to track your child’s progress in multiple realms of development.
- A blood draw is required to evaluate the genetic component of child development. Parents will be asked to participate in blood draw as well.
More information about our studies:
Parents of children ages 3+
If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism, you are eligible to participate in the SPARK research study!
Help Speed Up Autism Research: Join
What is SPARK?
SPARK is the largest autism research project in US history, seeking to create a cohort of 50,00 individuals diagnosed with ASD and their biological family members. The entire autism community is encouraged to participate! There is NO cost to take part in SPARK. The research is sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).
Our goal is to build a community of 50,000 individuals with autism and their biological family members as we seek to speed up research and improve our understanding of autism -- including learning what causes autism and how best to treat it. UCSD Autism Center of Excellence and over 30 of the nation's leading medical schools and autism research centers are part of this effort. The entire autism community is encouraged to participate! There is NO cost to take part in SPARK.
What We Do:
SPARK researchers extract genetic data through a saliva sample, and they study genes and information collected from thousands of people and their biological parents. At the same time, we aim to make participation as simple as possible, create an interconnected community, and share resources and information to our participants! We hope you will join us!
How to Join:
- Sign-up online:
here. It only takes 20 minutes.
*If you are prompted with the question: Were you referred by a university, hospital, or registry? Please select UCSD/SARRC.
- Complete a few questionnaires online.
- Provide a saliva sample. A saliva collection kit will be mailed to your home within 2-3 weeks after completing the registration. When you are done, simply mail it back to us for free.
Benefits of Joining:
- If a genetic finding related to the cause of autism is discovered in a saliva sample, results will be shared back with families. Not all families will have a result.
- Individuals with autism will receive gift cards valued up to $50 for participating.
- Families will have access to the latest research, articles, and monthly webinars featuring speakers from the autism community that provide useful information for families and diagnosed individuals.
- The information you provide will help others with ASD in the future!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an in-home appointment to complete the study, please contact our SPARK coordinator at (858) 534-6906 or SPARKForAutism@ucsd.edu.
Parents of children diagnosed with autism or other developmental delays
If your child has a previous diagnosis of autism or developmental delay, he or she may be eligible to participate in one of our studies. Participation in our research study provides information about your child’s current functioning and subsequent progress.
Please contact us at 858-534-6913 for more details.
Parents of typically developing infants and toddlers
You and your child can provide valuable information in the effort to understand and treat autism. In exchange for participation, families receive a comprehensive assessment of their child’s cognitive, verbal, and social development. Please contact us at 858-534-6913 for more details.
Additional Resources for Parents:
Some additional resources that may provide further assistance are listed below