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Study Opportunity

Sep 04, 2013 -- 8:40 pm
Dear Parent(s) Autism is a neurological disorder that affects social development and communication. Eye movements and pupil measurements have been used to determine how people with autism respond to human faces, but the developmental path of these eye responses is still uncertain. This research project will study how pupil responses and face scanning patterns change from toddlerhood into late childhood in order to better characterize these responses in autism.
Who may participate in this project? We are looking for 2 to 13 year-old children who (a) have a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder, Asperger's syndrome, or PDD-NOS OR (b) who are typically-developing children. In order to participate, the children must not have any neurological disorders (other than autism, Asperger's, or PDD-NOS) or serious health problems such as heart disease. Children with hearing or vision difficulties should have corrected hearing or vision, as with hearing aids or glasses. Children should not be chronically taking any medications, prescription or over-the-counter, although multivitamins are acceptable.
What type of activity will my child participate in? Each child will be seen at our Lawrence laboratory for one session. During this session, your child's pupil size will be measured twice using two devices. First we use a hand-held device that is placed over their left eye. Second we use an eye-tracking system which measures pupil size through a small camera in front of the computer screen. The purpose of this is to ensure we can successfully obtain an accurate pupil size with the hand-held device because it is more practical for use in pediatrician and diagnostic clinics. There is no pain associated with either procedure. During the procedure, your child will be secured into an age appropriate seat.
Then, they will be shown a series of images, including photos, figurines, and drawings of both human faces and common objects. As your child views the screen, his or her pupil diameter and eye movements will be recorded using an eye-tracking camera. Nothing will be attached to your child.
When the visual task is completed, a standardized test of intelligence will be administered, as well as a standard assessment for autism (administered to all children, even typically-developing children). The autism assessment will consist of free play with toys and informal conversation.
How long will these activities take? The session should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
Will we be reimbursed for time and travel? YES. You will be given $20 at the appointment for time and travel.
How do I sign up for participation? If you are interested in participating in this research project or if you have questions, please contact us directly via phone (785) 864-6485, or e-mail
We sincerely hope that you will consider participation.
Sara M. Obermeier, Graduate Student; Supervised by Christa J. Anderson, Ph.D. & John Colombo, Ph.D.
The University of Kansas, Schiefelbusch Life Span Institute
(785) 864-6485;;
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