1280 Main Street West,
Welcome to the Early Autism Study.
We are inviting infants to come into the lab for four visits in their first year of life. These young babies are helping us to study autism by spending just a few minutes looking at faces, eyes, emotions and dots “playing” on a computer screen. While these babies are looking at the computer, we measure what they are looking at. We can tell what they are looking at because we have “eye tracker” equipment to measure light reflected from their eyes. This gives us a very early measure of a baby’s social development.
We want to find early signs of autism. This study started in the spring of 2005, after a couple of years in development. We have only just begun to have enough data from which to draw any conclusions. The exciting thing is that our early results indicate that the measures work! Our ultimate goal is to be able to predict which of the young babies visiting our lab will develop autism, but in order to do that, we need more people to participate. Do you have a young baby, early in his or her first year of life? We are especially interested in babies who have autism in the family. Does your baby have a sibling with autism? Come visit our lab, or we can visit you! Join the Early Autism Study!
Very little is known about autism in the first year of life. Autism is often diagnosed when a child is three or four or even older. There aren’t reliable tests of autism for very young babies, which is why we are working hard to create one. Earlier diagnosis means earlier treatment, and earlier treatment means better outcomes for most children. We are hoping that if enough young babies join our Early Autism Study, we will be able to create a tool for the early detection of autism. We hope to be able to identify autism in the first year.
Take some time to explore our Early Autism Study web site. On this site, you will find some helpful information about autism, and what autism might look like in a young baby. You can also find some helpful resources for parents who have a young child with autism. You’ll be able to find resources in Ontario, as well as resources for working with your child on your own. You’ll also find information on your day in the lab, if you decide to participate in the Early Autism Study. You’ll find a map, parking information and some nice pictures of babies in our study!
The information on this web site is not medical advice. You should consult with a licensed clinician to develop your treatment plan.
The principal investigator of this study is
Dr. Rutherford, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, and Canada Research Chair in Social Perception.
Dr. Rutherford heads a dynamic research laboratory at McMaster University, 2004 Research University of the Year.