Participating in Autism Research

Ongoing Autism Research – Volunteers Needed

Below is a listing of university affiliated research projects which autistic individuals, parents, and community professionals may be interested in exploring.

Researchers are invited to submit your research project using this online form. Submission may take up to one week to post. Please read your submission carefully, checking for spelling or other errors. ACT does not edit postings.

ACT reserves the right to request ethics approval for projects and not to post projects submitted.

Integration of therapy dogs into education sessions

Posted: April 2023

Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are looking for children with autism spectrum disorder/ autistic children (diagnosed or suspected) between the ages of 3-7 years to participate in a new study to better understand how to best integrate therapy dogs into education sessions.

The purpose of this study is to understand how different handling styles of therapy dogs influence children’s social behavior and interactions with the dogs. The researchers want to know if changing how therapy dogs are presented will impact the outcomes (social and affiliative behavior as well as stress behavior) for children during animal-assisted education sessions.

The participants will take part in educational (social skills games) sessions at the University of British Columbia for 2 sessions, 60 min each (for a total of 2 hours of participation).
No compensation will be provided and the participation in the sessions is free. The child can quit at any moment with no consequences.

For more information or to participate, please contact Dr. Camila Cavalli at [email protected] or by phone at 604-827-2803.

The study is conducted by Dr. Alexandra Protopopova (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Land and Food Systems).

Contact principal investigator: Camila Cavalli at [email protected]

Ethics approval from UBC: Ethics approval from UBC:

Did You Struggle Feeding Your Child with Autism as an Infant? We Would Be Interested in Hearing Your Story.

Posted: April 2023
Project End Date: Ongoing

If you are a mother to a child ages 2-10 years old with an Autism diagnosis who had difficulty feeding at 0-12 months of age, you may be able to take part in this research study!

Contact principal investigator: Amy Campbell at amy.a.camf:[email protected]

Exploring autistic experiences in, and perspectives on speech-language therapy: A Survey

Posted: March 2023

Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers from Western University are seeking autistic adults and parents/caregivers of autistic individuals residing in Canada for participation in a brief survey to share their experiences and opinions regarding speech-language pathology (SLP) services for autistic children and youth. Participants will have the opportunity to be compensated for their participation.

This project aims to explore: (a) the lived-experience of autistic individuals and their families who have received speech and language therapy services, and (b) autistic individuals’ and families’ current values and needs for optimal SLP service delivery for autistic clients. A cross-sectional anonymous, online survey will be distributed to autistic persons (18 years+) and parents of autistic children who have received SLP services and currently reside in Canada. Survey findings will inform the development of a comprehensive, community partner-informed Guidance Document for Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) who work with autistic children and youth. Click here to complete the survey.

Contact principal investigator Dr. Amanda Binns, PhD, SLP-CCC for more information [email protected].

Youth with Disabilities in Climate and Sustainability Action

Posted: March 2023
Project End Date: April 2023

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are seeking youths with disabilities (aged 35 or younger) and/or for individuals who have direct experience working or living with a youth with a disability to complete a survey. The purpose of this research project is to understand the challenges and barriers faced by youth with disabilities, including autistic individuals, in the context of taking action on climate change and participating in sustainability leadership initiatives. The survey will take 5-10 minutes to complete and includes a paid focus group opportunity ($50) at the end. Click here to complete the survey.

For more information on this study, contact Jessie Song at [email protected].

The Future of Disability-Inclusive Policy Focus Groups

Posted: March 2023
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers with the Disability Policy Research Program at the University of Calgary are recruiting for a study that is using focus groups to discuss the future of disability-inclusive policy in Canada. These focus groups will be comprised of youth with disabilities, parents/caregivers of youth with disabilities, and representatives from non-profit organizations.Participation in this study will involve attending a 90-minute focus group discussion over Zoom. Please see the study flyer.

If you are interested in participating, email lead researcher Brittany Finlay at [email protected] for more information.

Parental Perspectives of Emotion Dysregulation and Challenging Behaviours in Autistic Children

Posted: February 2023
Project End Date: May 15, 2023

Do you have a child aged 6-12 that is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? If so, researchers at the University of Calgary invited you to participate in a research study investigating the relationship between emotional dysregulation and challenging behaviours exhibited by autistic children. These challenging behaviours, such as aggression, tantrums, and self-injurious behaviours, pose significant difficulties for children on the spectrum as well as their families. By gathering your opinions and perspectives of the relation between emotional dysregulation and challenging behaviours, researchers hope to inform behaviour intervention plans that can support children’s functioning across settings. Participation in this study involves the completion of an online questionnaire and a follow-up semi-structured interview (approximately 60-minutes in length) either online or in-person with a researcher. 

If you’re interested in participating or would like more information, please contact Braxtyn Horbay [email protected]

High School Transition Study

Posted: October 2022
Project End Date: On-going

Researchers from the University of New Brunswick are seeking parents of youth with either autism and/or an intellectual disability for an online survey on quality of life during the transition to adulthood. Currently, very little is known about the transitional period for these youth. The researchers are hoping to address this knowledge gap and provide rationale for the implementation of transition planning programs for youth with developmental disabilities in Canada.

This online survey takes 20 – 30 minutes and eligible participants will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card: Online Survey.

If you have any questions about this project, contact the principal investigator, Lindsey McCullough ([email protected]). 

Group Parent Training Project

Posted: October 2022
Project End Date: On-going

This study by University of British Columbia will investigate the association between implementation of a group parent training model of family centred positive behaviour support (FCPBS) delivered via telepractice and: (a) improvements in child behaviours that challenge and positive engagement across the day with family members; and (b) global improvements in child and family functioning. Six families of children with autism will participate. Two facilitators will conduct a 14-week group parent training workshop on universal positive behaviour supports. Parents will record data on: (a) child behaviours that challenge; and (b) child positive engagement. Parents also will complete questionnaires on global family and child functioning. See the Study Flyer for details.

If you are interested in participating the study, please contact the principal investigator, Dr. Joseph Lucyshyn at [email protected] or Erin Badduke at [email protected].

Dating, Relationships, Sexual Health Education and Service Needs Study

Posted: September 2022
Project End Date: September 23, 2023

The Sex Information & Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN), a not-for-profit organization that promotes sexual health in Canada, is running focus groups with autistic youth and youth with physical disabilities between 16 and 24 years old to better understand their dating and relationship experiences and also what sexual health information and services they need. What SIECCAN learns from these discussions will help them develop resources for service providers who work with autistic and/or disabled youth to improve sexual health promotion.

The focus groups for autistic youth are happening September 22 at 7pm ET (all Autistic youth) and September 23 at 7pm ET (Autistic youth who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color) online via Zoom. Participants will be given $75 as a thank you for their time and input.

Interested participants should email Wisdom2Action at [email protected].

Parenting Stress & Family Quality of Life in Children with ASD and/or ADHD

Posted: August 2022
Project End Date: Ongoing

The purpose of this study is to learn about the strengths of families of children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Brief study description: We will be collecting information through a brief online survey made up of questionnaires. The questionnaires will ask you questions about your child’s behaviour, parenting, and family dynamics. We will also ask if you have a partner who shares the child rearing responsibilities with you, to please share the survey with them. All information will remain confidential. The survey will take approximately 30-45 minutes.

Participation requirements: To be eligible to participate in this study, you must be a caregiver of a child between 2 and 18 years of age residing in Canada or the United States.

Why participate? By taking part in this study, your contribution will help to improve the lives of families with a child with and without ASD and/or ADHD and allow clinicians to more effectively implement parent-child and family intervention programs. You will also be entered to win one of ten $50 Amazon eGift Cards!

Contact Karis Cochrane at [email protected] for more information, or sign up here.

Autistic Mother & Non-Autistic Daughter Relationships During Adolescence

Posted: August 2022
Project End Date: Ongoing

This study will explore how autistic mothers and their non-autistic adolescent daughters describe strengths, challenges, and communication in their parent-child relationships. Co-investigators of this study, who are both autistic mothers, helped develop the study topic and protocol. The research team will collaboratively decide how to present the research findings to prioritize the goals of the autistic community.

This study may be a good fit for you and your daughter if: You have a formal or self-diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Your daughter is between the ages of 13 and 19 and does not have a formal or self-diagnosis of ASD You and your daughter would like to share your perspectives of your mother-daughter relationship What does participation involve? You will each participate in a one-on- one interview (up to 90 minutes) You will both have the option to conduct the interview in-person, over Zoom, or over a text-based application You will each receive a $50 Amazon gift card to thank you for your time.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions about the study, please contact [email protected].

Using Eye-Tracking Technology and Machine Learning to explore the possible specific Affinity between Youth, Autism and Manga as a visual Language

Posted: May 2022
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are looking for people ages 13-17 who are neurodiverse (autistic) and neurotypical to participate in eye-tracking while reading Manga (a Japanese comic). This study will provide some of the first research to ascertain if there is any affinity to manga by youth with autism, and to appreciate if there are differences in how youth read manga. If there are differences this can lead to a further understanding of the cognitive impact of autism on reading, including areas of novel research, allow for potential objective measure for diagnostic purposes, and use of manga in for communication or intervention. 

The study takes about 20 minutes and will be at UBC. Participants will receive a $20 honorarium and UBC parking will be reimbursed. Anyone who is interested can sign via the registration form here.

Contact [email protected] or 604-423-4803 for more information.

Study on video games, music and Autism

Posted: April 2022
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at the University of Montreal are evaluating the effect of video games on children’s rhythmic abilities and cognition. The game is a mobile app for tablet and smartphone. Participants should meet these criteria:

  • Age between 7-13 years old.
  • Understand English and/or French.
  • Be non-musician (have less than two years of formal musical training).
  • Have a normal sight and hearing (or corrected to normal).
  • Have an ASD diagnosis, without comorbidities (mention this in email).
  • Live anywhere in Canada

$50 compensation is provided for your child’s participation, which includes: playing an entertaining game on tablet from home (2h30/week for 2 weeks), plus two sessions of video conference (about 90 & 45 minutes each) to help prepare for the game and complete questionnaires and online tasks.

Please contact the research team to to confirm your eligibility by email at [email protected].

Assessing feasibility and effectiveness of an online parent resource to support safe and active sport and recreation for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Posted: March 2022
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at the UBC Okanagan School of Nursing are looking for individuals to provide input for developing and testing an online training resource for supporting parents raising a child on the autism spectrum. The researchers have developed this online survey to gather input from both parents of children on the autism spectrum as well as service providers about their interests and preferences about different types of safety related information and format for web-based resources. The main goal of this study is to develop and evaluate a website pertaining to safety issues for children on the autism spectrum and provide resources for families and recreation personnel to support active and safe recreation participation. 

The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete: Parent/Provider Online Survey

Contact Dr. Lise Olsen at [email protected] or see the study poster for more details.

Teachers’ perspective on the student-teacher relationship in female students with autism spectrum disorder

Posted: March 2022
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are investigating teachers’ perspective on the student-teacher relationship quality with elementary-aged female students with autism spectrum disorder. The study is looking for current or previous elementary-school teachers to complete a 15-minute online survey. Participants are eligible to participate if they have taught in the past three years an elementary school-aged female students with ASD, were a full-time teacher at the time in a mainstream/inclusive school, taught within Canada, and are proficient in English. As a thank you for participating, participants will be given a chance to enter a draw to win one of ten $20 gift cards.

Contact Melissa Lazo at [email protected] for more information.

Aging and Autism

Posted: February 2022
Project End Date: December 2026

Researchers at Hollandview Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation are looking for adults, aged 40 years and older, who have an ASD diagnosis, with normal or corrected-to-normal vision and hearing, to participate in a study on aging. The purpose of this study is to understand how aging happens to develop better supports for autistic adults. What’s involved? You will be asked to answer questionnaires, undergo cognitive assessments, and have brain scans. Participation involves two sessions: one initial session and another after 4 years. Participants will receive $100 per study session as reimbursement. You can also request the results of your testing.

For information or to participate, contact Daman Rehal at [email protected].

Everyday Experiences and Communication

Posted: December 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at Western University are interested in what people know about common events and how people communicate. They are looking for autistic and non-autistic adults and children to participate in an online study.

Who can participate?

  • Adults (18 and older) who are autistic or non-autistic
  • Children (aged 9-17) who are autistic or non-autistic, and their parents/guardians
  • Participants must be English speakers.

What is involved?

The study has three parts: 1. Filling out personality/behaviour questionnaires. (For children under 18, this would be completed by a parent or guardian.); 2. Completing a task about ordering the steps people do during common events (like going to the movies); 3. Having a Zoom call for language and knowledge tasks with the researcher.

Participants will answer questions about words, sentences, and pictures. A device with a reliable internet connection would be needed for the study. In total, the study may take up to 3 hours. Participants will be given $30 CAD for participating in the study. If you (or your child) want to participate or have questions, please email Kara Hannah at [email protected].

Research Study About ASD and Parenting

Posted: November 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

Are you the parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder aged 13-45? Researchers at Vanderbilt University want to know more about you and your relationship with your child. This online study includes completing a consent form, two online questionnaires that will take about 30 minutes, and a short 10-minute recorded Zoom interview with a Vanderbilt student to find out more about you and your child. There is no payment but researchers will send study results when complete in a short feedback report.

For more information contact Elizabeth Roof at 615-343-3330 or [email protected].

Game-based cognitive intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Posted: November 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

The University of Victoria Child Development Lab is currently conducting a study comparing game-based cognitive interventions for children with autism. The purpose of this research is to determine whether children can benefit from a cognitive intervention to improve their abilities to focus, remember, and self-regulate.

In this study, caregivers will have a role as their child’s interventionist and support their development of attention and executive functions through a parent-delivered intervention. Children will play one of two game-based interventions 3-to-4 times per week over 6 weeks with one of their caregivers supporting them. Each session will last approximately 30-45 minutes. Caregivers will receive training on how they can support their child in completing the sessions and the research team will be available to help you should questions arise. This research opportunity is currently open to children ages 4 to 8 years old who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (or who are waiting to get assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorders) and their caregivers.

For more information or to participate, contact Buse Bedir at [email protected].

Challenges and Facilitators During Transition to Adulthood of Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities

Posted: July 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at Dalhousie University are conducting a project investigating challenges and resources during transition to adulthood of adolescents with disabilities. The purpose of this project is to uncover barriers and factors that ease the transition to adulthood of adolescents with disabilities from perspectives of youth with disabilities, their parents, and service providers. What we mean by services includes broad spectrum of resources including education, employment, healthcare services, etc. The goal of this study is to have a better understanding of services and resources that are available to support the process of transition to adulthood for young people living with disabilities.

Participation will require involvement in an interview either face to face or over phone or via Skype, whichever is convenient, to share ideas and perspectives. Participants will also be asked to answer some basic questions describing themselves through a confidential online survey platform or filling out paper-based demographic survey. Participation in this study is completely voluntary and participants may choose to stop participating at any time prior to, during, or after the interview. A gift card (e.g., Amazon, based on your choice), valued at $30 will be provided for participant, even if they discontinue participation during the interview process. 

If you choose to participate in this study or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact the research team at via email at [email protected].

Investigating Depressive Symptomatology in Adolescents with ASD and ADHD

Posted: May 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at Queen’s University are conducting a study of the overlapping symptoms between depression and developmental disorders such as ASD and ADHD. Adolescents both with and without depression, and with and without ASD or ADHD, are invited to participate, along with their parent.

The child will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their feelings over the last two weeks. This will take approximately 30 minutes. The parent will also be asked fill out a questionnaire about how they believe their son/daughter has been feeling over the past two weeks and his/her behavior. This should take approximately an hour. If the parents feels that this would be too challenging for their child, their portion can be skipped, with only the parent completing the questionnaire. For their participation, parent and child will each receive a $10 Amazon e-gift card.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the study will be taking place over Zoom, a video conferencing program. If you and your child are interested in participating in the study, please reach out to [email protected] for more information.

Social inclusion among individuals with autism spectrum disorder: How to advance their resilience

Posted: March 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

This Dalhousie University study will explore resilience and stress experienced by families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers are also interested in understanding the strategies families and children use to cope with challenges, as well as available resources and gaps in services to promote family’s resilience. Participants must be: persons living with ASD (above 15 years), a guardian/parent of a person with ASD, or a healthcare service provider of young people living with ASD. Participants will speak with a member of the research team during a 60-minute individual interview either over phone or via Skype, whichever is convenient, to share ideas and perspectives. By participating in this interview, participants will be given a gift card (e.g., Amazon, based on your choice), valued at $30.

If you are interested, contact Dr Ghanouni at [email protected].

Body Image in Adolescents with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted: February 2021
Project End Date: Ongoing

Many people with autism experience feeding and eating problems (e.g., picky eating, sensitivity to food textures, eating disorders), but it is not fully understood why. Body image (how someone thinks and feels about their body) plays an important role in eating disorders. This University of Calgary study aims to understand how teenage females with autism experience body image compared to their peers without autism. We will also examine how body image impacts eating and weight-control behaviours (e.g., dieting, exercise) in teens with and without autism.

Teenage girls (aged 12-17) and a parent/guardian will be asked to complete a brief phone screening and fill out online questionnaires about their eating behaviours, thoughts, and feelings about their body. As a thank you for participating, families will be entered into a draw for 1 of 30 $40 gift cards upon completion of the study.

If you are interested in participating in the study, please contact Jessica Baraskewich at [email protected] for more information.

Development of an Artificial Intelligence Chatbot for Families of Children with Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Posted: October 2020
Project End Date: Ongoing

Researchers at the University of Alberta are attempting to improve the life outcomes of families affected by Neurodevelopmental Disorders by developing a chatbot. The verification of engagement strategies used in the Chatbot is critical to improve families’ experiences with the application. The research team is currently in the process of running Focus Groups that are one-time 45~60-minute online sessions with 1-4 other individuals. Parents who have a child with Neurodevelopmental Disorders are invited for these focus groups. They will answer questions about their preferences for specific engagement strategies and converse with other participants in a Zoom meeting format.

For more information, please see the Study Flyer. If you are interested in participating, please contact Mahdieh Yousef at [email protected].

Research Opportunity for Parents Who Completed PEERS

Posted: June 2020
Project End Date: Ongoing

Are you a parent who has participated in PEERS? This study is looking for parents who have completed the PEERS program within the last three years who are interested in talking about their experience with PEERS. The study is hoping to learn about ways to improve interventions for parents of adolescents with autism and to determine how to best address parent’s needs.

Parents will be asked to complete a 45 to 90-minute confidential online interview using zoom. Participants will be asked questions about their experiences throughout the PEERS intervention, including which things about their experience were helpful, which were less helpful, and what experiences would have been helpful. Participants who take part in the study will be provided with a $25 gift card as an appreciation for their time.

This study is being conducted by Brittni Thompson as part of her Master’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. William Mckee at UBC. If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Brittni Thompson at [email protected].

Family Experiences, Motherhood, and Neurodevelopment Study

Posted: April 2020
Project end date: Ongoing

Students from the Family and Developmental Psychopathology Lab at the University of Manitoba are investigating several areas of the parent-child relationship and family functioning among parents of children with ASD. Specifically, this study examines the broad autism phenotype (BAP), parental reflective functioning (PRF), and parenting styles amongst parents of children with ASD and their relationship to parenting stress, parenting outcomes, child externalizing behaviours, and family quality of life (FQOL). Mothers of children with or without ASD, between the ages 6 to 11, are asked to complete a survey to investigate the strengths of these families. If you are interested in taking part in this study, please click the follwing link that will lead you to a survey that will take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete: Mothering and Neurodevelopment Study.

Please contact Olivia Cadieux at [email protected] if you have questions.