Research Opportunities

Updated on July 1, 2020

Consider signing up to participate in research. Think of all the families before you who participated in research, so your child could have quality therapy and programs.


Would you like to post a research opportunity?

Please fill out our form and send it back. We will post as quickly as possible and notify our readers that there is a new opportunity. Research Opportunity Form



Project Name:  Evaluation of Melatonin Versus Behavioral Intervention in the Treatment of Sleep Disturbances in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder


Dates:  May 2019 to May 2020. Study will be renewed until 15 participants complete the study. *This study is open until May 2021. Updated 6/30/2020


Project Description: 

The proposed research study aims to evaluate the comparative effectiveness of melatonin and behavioral intervention as treatments for parent-defined, co-occurring sleep disturbances in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). A two-factor split-plot experimental design will be employed. Participating families will be randomly assigned to one of three groups: bedtime fading with response cost (BFRC), melatonin, and placebo. A modified split-plot analysis of covariance will be applied to evaluate both conventional between-group estimates of treatment effects and time-series single-case estimates of treatment effects that are uncontaminated by within-group variation. Findings will be used to extend both the science and practice of melatonin and BFRC as parent-delivered treatment options for co-occurring sleep disturbances experienced by children diagnosed with ASD.

Risks and Benefits:

Please see page 5 of the parent consent form for details. Risks should be no greater than the discomfort already normally exposed to due to the child’s current problem sleep behavior. Benefits include the potential to decrease disruptive sleep behaviors and improve quality of life, as well as potentially lead to a better understanding of autism and sleep problem behaviors and better in-home management of disruptive sleep and related behaviors for other parents and their children.

PI/Credentials: Dr. Sela Sanberg, clinical psychology doctoral candidate in the Psychology Department, and Dr. Wayne Fuqua, professor in the Psychology Department

Contact Information: 

WMU HSIRB (269) 387-8293 and

Sela Sanberg may be reached at (917) 817-2280 and

Cost/Honorarium:  No cost, no honorarium. Research outcomes will be made available to participants at the end of the study.

IRB or Ethics Review Approval:  Project #18-04-30, approved by Western Michigan University (WMU) Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (HSIRB)

Project Name:  Lingo Lab


Dates:  May 2019 - December 2021 * Research is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 (updated 7/1/2020)


Project Description: 

We are currently recruiting children with autism from 2 through 5 to take part in a study about word learning and attention in children on the spectrum. The goal is to better understand how to support the development of language and communication in these children. Children will completed play-based developmental assessments and 5-minute eye-tracking tasks (“movies”). Parents will complete written questionnaires.

Risks and Benefits (to families or scientific community):

Potential risks: Because families provide personal identifying information, there is the possibility of a breach of confidentiality. However, we do everything possible to ensure that no breach of confidentiality occurs. Potential benefits: Families of children with autism will be offered a written report of the findings from the evaluation, including information about their child’s language, cognitive, and social communication skills. 

PI/Credentials: Courtney E. Venker, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Assistant Professor in Communicative Sciences and Disorders at Michigan State University

Contact Information: 

Lab phone: 517-884-2259. Dr. Venker’s phone: 517-884-2259.

Lab email:

Dr. Venker’s email:

Lab website:

Cost/Honorarium:  Families will receive $20/hour for their participation. We cover mileage for families who live more than 60 miles away from our lab (1026 Red Cedar Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824). We offer a complimentary hotel stay to families who live more than 90 miles away. We will periodically send out newsletters to update families about the study and its findings.

IRB or Ethics Review Approval:  Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Michigan State University


Project Name:  The Early Hearing Study at MSU


Dates:  Enrolling eligible participants through 2020 *temporarily paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic”

 (Updated 6/30/2020) 


Project Description: 

The Early Hearing Study is a Michigan State University research study about how young babies respond to sound.  We are interested in seeing babies who have a sibling diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental condition (such as Autism or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder).

If you and your baby would like to join us, your participation would involve a one-time visit with a licensed audiologist at the Hearing Health Center (Sparrow Professional Building) in Lansing, MI, when you baby is 3-4 weeks old.  Your baby will listen to snap or click sounds, and we will ask you to complete some brief questionnaires. 

You and your baby may be eligible to participate if you are: 1)18 years or older, 2) have a child diagnosed with a neurodevelopmental condition (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder), and 3) recently gave birth (1-3 weeks ago) or are expecting soon.

PI/Credentials: PI Nicole Talge, PhD, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Research Director Melanie Adkins, MPH

Contact Information: 

For questions or more information about The Early Hearing Study at MSU

please email, call 517-884-2098

or complete a secure contact form

You can also visit the MSU Neurodevelopment and Health Research Group at 

Cost/Honorarium:  There is no cost to participate in this study  

Participants will receive a $100 e-gift card to

IRB or Ethics Review Approval:  Approved by Michigan State University Intuitional Review Board, Study ID LEGACY 15-669M

Project Name:  Family Well-Being and Music Engagement During COVID-19 (Updated 6/30/20)

Participant Criteria: Parents of Children with ASD aged 6 months to 5 years of age


Dates:  Current


Project Description: 

Participants complete a secure online survey about family well-being and parent-child music engagement during COVID-19. Participation will take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete.

Participants receive access to online children’s music activities and can enter a lottery to win (1/30 chance) a $25 Amazon gift card for their participation. Participants who previously completed the survey can complete the survey again during this time of COVID-19.

Access the survey at

PI/Credentials: Miriam Lense, PhD

Contact Information:  615-873-0852;

Cost/Honorarium:  Upon completion of the survey, participants can enter a lottery to win (1/30 chance) a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card.

Project Name:  Siblings Speak

Project Dates: Ongoing  * as soon as MSU allows it, we will start scheduling again! (updated 6/30/20)

Project Description:  We are currently looking for adolescents (age 13-17) who have a sibling with Autism (ASD, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD) and their mothers to participate in a research study looking at sibling relationships among adolescents and their siblings with Autism. Individuals with Autism do not need to participate. Participation involves one 2-hour visit to MSU followed by a short set of daily questions online for 16 days and saliva collection at home on 2 days.

PI/Credentials: PI : Amy K. Nuttall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Child Development

                                    Department of Human Development and Family Studies

                                    Michigan State University

Contact Information:  MSU Family Stress Lab: 517-898-2206  




Cost/Honorarium:  Participants can earn up to $156 for participating!

© 2020 Mid Michigan Autism Association

 P.O. Box 27462  Lansing  MI  48909

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