Research Opportunities


Research Opportunities

Updated on April 7, 2021

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.


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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: Promoting Emotion Regulation in Preschoolers with ASD: The Implementation of a Systematic Training Procedure (added 4/7/2021)


Simple explanation of project (including age of participants): For my dissertation study, I am studying a parent-mediated emotion regulation intervention and I am looking to recruit 2-3 mothers of 3- to 5- year old children with autism spectrum disorder that struggle with regulating their emotions to participate in the study.


The study takes place entirely via Zoom over and parents will learn new strategies to support their child's emotion regulation from the comfort of their own home. We would meet twice per week over Zoom for approximately 5 to 10 weeks. Each session will be approximately 20-50 minutes long.



Risks and Benefits (to families or scientific community): The potential benefits to you for taking part in this study are gaining skills to effectively support your child in better managing his/her emotions, thereby reducing emotional dysregulation that interferes with successful navigation of everyday activities. You also may gain skills to help you better understand the underlying reasons for your children’s behavioral outbursts. Results of this study will benefit the autism community as a whole, by evaluating whether a cost-effective, parent-implemented intervention can reduce emotional dysregulation in young children with ASD. There are minimal risks associated with this research. Some of the questions asked may make you feel uncomfortable, and you will be free to not answer any questions. Mildly frustrating tasks will be introduced to children during the meetings; if you or your child experience psychological discomfort beyond what would be considered mild to moderate frustration, the tasks will be discontinued by the researchers. If you or your child experiences any problems from participating in this study, treatment is available on a sliding fee scale at the MSU Psychological Clinic (517-355-9564).


Name of PI, researchers, and administrative contacts (with credentials): Interventionist: Allura Malcolm, M.A., TLLP. Contact information: Advisor/PI: Dr. Kristen Rispoli, Ph.D. Contact information:


IRB or Ethics Review Approval: MSU Study ID: STUDY00004630 IRB: Biomedical and Health Institutional Review Board Principal Investigator: Kristin Marie Rispoli Category: Full Board Submission: Initial Study STUDY00004630 Submission Approval Date: 7/27/2020 Effective Date: 8/5/2020 Study Expiration Date: 7/26/2099


Contact Information (Phone, Email, Website): Allura Malcolm: (989)942-6157,


Dates of opportunity?  April - June 2021


Cost or honorarium? Parents and children who participate will receive a free box of toys and games and up to $350.00 in Amazon gift cards.

Project Name: Teleconsultation for Families During COVID-19 (added 10/18/20)

Dates: October 2020 - October 2021

Project Description:

This program provides consultation services for families, free of cost, to address concerns with children and adolescent’s (social, emotional and behavioral concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parents/guardians of children ages 3 to 26 years (if still enrolled in school) are eligible to participate. All consultation sessions are provided remotely, via Zoom. There is no special technology or equipment needed to participate. Zoom can be accessed from any smart phone, tablet, or computer with an internet connection. We are researching this program, but parents can elect to not participate in the research portion of the project and just receive teleconsultation.)

Risks and Benefits (to families or scientific community):

There are no risks to parents/guardians other than potential discomfort in discussing child concerns. Potential benefits to families include receiving support for social, emotional and behavioral concerns during the ongoing pandemic. Benefits to the scientific community include gaining knowledge of the feasibility of teleconsultation services to support families when access to in-person services are limited or not available.

Name of PI, researchers, and administrative contacts (with credentials):_PI Dr. Kristin Rispoli, PhD in School Psychology, Licensed Psychologist and Nationally Certified School Psychologist. Research team also includes Emma Nathanson, MA and doctoral candidate in School Psychology, Mackenzie Norman, MA School Psychology, Sydney Nelson, LMSW, Nicole Mathes, MS and doctoral candidate in School Psychology and Allura Malcolm, MS and doctoral candidate in School Psychology.

Main Researcher/Contact: Interested parents/guardians can complete this form to indicate their interest. For more information or questions, please email

IRB or Ethics Review Approval: IRB #STUDY00004519, approved by Michigan State University.

Cost or honorarium: No costs, no honorarium. Results of project will be provided to participants when it is completed.

Project Name: Bilingual Family Perspectives on the Experience of Young Children with Complex Communication Needs (added 7/24/20)

Dates: July 2020 - July 2021

Project Description

The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences and needs of bilingual families of children who have diagnosed disabilities and have limited verbal skills. We are looking for families: (1) at least one family member who speak a language other than English; (2) have a 3-8 years old child who have limited verbal skills due to diagnosed disabilities. A third-year PhD student will conduct a 30 to 40 minutes interview with the adult family members who participate in the study. The interview will be recorded and transcribed into written form for content analysis. 

Risks and Benefits: There are no potential risks to participants from participating in this study. One possible benefit of this research is that participants may gain new insight about their child’s and their own experiences of communication given the bilingual environment. Participating in this study can also help us better design AAC interventions to support children whose families speak more than one language and advocate for more opportunities and practices in school and clinical settings that support children's and families’ bilingual needs.

PI/Credentials: Dr. Ryan P Bowles, PhD in Quantitative Psychology , associate professor at Michigan State University. Researchers: (1) Tiantian Sun, MA in education, PhD student at Michigan State University; (2) Dr. Sarah Douglas, PhD in Special Education, associate professor at Michigan State University; (3) Sarah Goodwin, Postdoctoral Researcher at Michigan State University. 

IRB/Ethics Review Approval: STUDY00003445, Exempt by Michigan State University Phone, Email, Website Tiantian Sun, , (352)-283-9869; Dr. Ryan Bowles, .

Cost or Honorarium: No cost, each participant will be compensated $25 for the time and effort the devote to the study after completing the interview.


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.


Dr. Venker’s

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:  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!

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

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

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.

Project Name:  Examination of Empathy and Social Outcomes for Students with and without Disabilities

Project Dates: December 2020-May 2021

Project Description:  students between the ages of 8-15 years with and without disabilities will be asked to complete 1 online assessment session concerning their empathy skills and social outcomes along with a brief cognitive battery over Zoom with the trained co-investigator. Caregivers will be asked to complete 1 online questionnaire about the student’s empathy skills and social outcomes. The primary investigator and co-investigator (with statistical consultation offered by the university) will run statistical analyses to determine any statistical differences in empathy skills and social outcomes between students with and without disabilities.

Risks and Benefits (to families or scientific community): There are no foreseeable risks associated with the study other than perhaps some fatigue when completing the questionnaires or assessments. We will minimize these risks by providing plenty of time for the questionnaires and breaks for the assessment. There are no direct benefits for participating in the study. However, the results of this study can help to inform and improve current and future empathy interventions.

PI/Credentials: PI Dr. Marisa Fisher, PhD in Special Education and her doctoral student Cynde Josol in Special Education.

Contact Information:

IRB or Ethics Review Approval: STUDY00005325 approved by Michigan State University Institutional Review Board

Primary Contact: Cynde Josol, (616) 803-9477, .

Cost/Honorarium: Caregivers and students will receive one $25 gift card in total upon completion of the study.

 P.O. Box 27462  Lansing  MI  48909

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