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Continuing Medical Education

Continuing Medical Education

NEWS | July 18, 2014

MIND Institute researchers seek infants for study on early signs of autism and ADHD

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.)

UC Davis MIND Institute researchers are seeking participants for a new study that will examine the early development of infants who have an older sibling with autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or who are developing typically. In an effort to detect the earliest signs of developmental problems, the researchers will test a new online screening measure that uses videos to help parents track their infants’ development.

Sally Ozonoff Sally Ozonoff

“When we interview parents about their child’s development, we may ask ‘Does your baby do that?’ and we sometimes have difficulty conveying what we mean,” said Sally Ozonoff, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and study lead investigator. “But when we show them a video they immediately recognize the behavior and are better able to answer. We think that using video will make the process of early screening easier for parents than relying on written descriptions of behavior alone.”

This new study also is one of the first to focus on warning signs of ADHD that might be detectable in infancy. Children with ADHD are typically not diagnosed until age 6 or 7, making it difficult to provide interventions early. Studying the early development of younger siblings of children with autism and ADHD – who have been shown to be at increased risk of developing these conditions and other developmental problems – will promote earlier identification of children with autism and ADHD and will help parents access services earlier.

The researchers currently are seeking infant siblings of older children with autism or ADHD, as well as infant siblings of children who are developing typically. All infants must be 9 months of age or younger to participate. The participants’ parents will complete forms, an online screening assessment, and 5 visits to the MIND Institute between birth and age 3.

Infants in the study are given several tests that evaluate language, cognitive, motor, social, attention, and play skills. Families also are provided with feedback from expert examiners about their infant’s development. Compensation is provided to families for each visit attended and for completion of questionnaires.

 This study is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and Autism Speaks. Interested families may contact Alesha Hill at 916-703-0297 or ahill@ucdavis.edu for more information. 

The UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers work together toward a common goal: researching causes, treatments and eventual preventions and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute and its Distinguished Lecturer Series, including previous presentations in this series, is available on the Web at mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu.