Autism Intervention Study


Dr. Amy Vaughan Van Hecke
Marquette University
Department of Psychology

Cramer Hall, 359
604 N. 16th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Phone: (414) 288-4438
Fax: (414) 288-5333

The Autism Intervention Study

We are interested in assessing changes in the brains of children with autism after early, intensive therapy. This study will measure the neurological activity of children with and without autism while they observe images of people, so that we may gain a better perspective on the brain changes in response to early behavior therapies.

The study requires children and a parent or guardian to participate. During the first visit, which may occur in the home, the parent will be videotaped while reading a story and will answer questions about their child's medical history, development, and behaviors. A picture of the parent will be taken. During the second visit, the child will participate in play activities and tasks that assess social and cognitive understanding. During the third visit, the child will participate in an electroencephalogram (EEG), which is a non-harmful way to measure brain activity. The child's heart rate will also be measured. During these measurements, the child will watch videos of their parent and an adult they do not know. At the follow-up visits six months later, the child will participate in social and cognitive assessments and a second EEG and heart rate measure while watching videos of familiar and unfamiliar people.

Who can participate?

Currently, children, ages 15-months-8 years, that have been diagnosed with autism or pervasive developmental disorder (PDD-NOS), as well as children ages 15-months-8 years, that have not been diagnosed with psychological, learning, or health-related disorders can participate.

How long does the study last?

The study last about three hours per session, with three sessions scheduled over a period of about three weeks. For children without an autism diagnosis, the study will consist of just one session. There are also follow-up appointments six months later lasting about three hours each. The study will take place in the Department of Psychology at Marquette University, with the exception of the first visit for children with autism, which can occur in the home. Parents will be reimbursed $10 for travel expenses for each visit and receive free parking at MU.

What are the benefits?

The study will allow you to contribute to the understanding of autism, a rapidly growing and complex developmental disorder. Parents of children with autism will also receive a free written report of their child's performance on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI).

Who do I contact?

For more information, please fill out the contact form below, or call the Marquette Autism Project at 414-288-4438.  Please mention that you are interested in the Autism Intervention study.



Contact the Marquette Autism Clinic

If you are interested in receiving an evaluation or have further questions about our services, please contact the Marquette Autism Clinic at (414) 288-4438, or contact us on our online form. We will reply to your request for information within two weeks.