Research at the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training

Participant Recruitment

Sleep Study for Children with ASD

This study is a collaboration between the Children's Mercy Hospitals, the University of Kansas Center for Child Health & Development and community autism support agencies.

If your child is on the autism spectrum, is between the age of 4-12 years old, and has sleep problems, and you can dedicate time for two 2-hours periods for either face-to-face or online educational sessions about improving sleep for your child (and your whole family); you would be a great participant in this project! There is no cost to receive these services.

The goal of the study is to determine if online educational sessions with blogging support and face-to-face educational sessions with telephone support are effective in helping children with autism start to sleep better.

You would be randomly selected to participate in either of the following groups, but we can discuss scheduling conflicts.
1) Two, 2-hour face-to-face interactive workshops with phone support follow-up during the subsequent four weeks, or
2) Two, 2-hour online Internet interactive workshop with four weeks of online blogging by family caregivers moderated by professional support

You would be asked to fill out confidential surveys before you start and after the sessions are over about: your child’s sleep, your family’s current quality of life, some general information about you and your child, and an actigraphy recording and sleep diary. Actigraphy means your child would wear a watch for a week to record how much he or she moves around while sleeping. At the end you will fill out a satisfaction survey.

If you agree to participate, you will need to contact Cristine Roberts, RN PhD from CMH so that she can tell you more about the study. Being in this study is completely voluntary; you do not have to participate. Participation will not change the care your child receives from your child’s clinic or support group.  

If you would like more information, please contact Dr. Roberts at 816.302.0207 (work) or at

Survey of adults who are siblings of individuals with disabilities

The University of Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences is looking for adults (18+) who have (or had) a sibling(s) with a disability to take a 15-20 minute survey about complex communication needs and siblings. Your responses may contribute to the development of an education program for children who have a sibling with a disability. Link to survey. Contact for more information.

Communication Complexity Scale

The Communication Complexity Scale (CCS), developed at the University of Kansas, is an assessment that focuses on individuals' abilities in communication who speak or sign very few words.

The CCS consists of activities set up as a time to play games and complete activities with the assessment staff. The staff tries to elicit different types of communication from the participant to assess his or her language, vocabulary and communication skills during these activities. The project is seeking both children and adults (ages 3-60) to participate in the assessment to help validate the CCS so it can be used worldwide.

Participation would include a one-time visit by a staff member with the participant at a school, home or another appropriate location. The participant’s primary caregiver would also complete a set of questionnaires in person or over the phone with a staff member. For helping the project improve the CCS, participants' caregivers will be offered a report on the types of communication the participant uses based on both the CCS and caregiver questionnaires. Participants will also be compensated $50.

Participants should be:

1. Individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities, including autism
2. Individuals having 0-20 words (can be non-verbal)
3. Individuals able to use their hands and arms to complete activities
4. Individuals between the ages of 3-60
5. Individuals who use English as a first language


Contact: Julie Evnen, MSW, 785 864-1573

KAWSTORY (Kindergarten Children Acquiring Words through STORYbook Reading)

Does your child have trouble learning new words? We are looking for kindergarten children who have trouble learning or remembering new words. Our research program offers a treatment aimed at teaching new words to kindergarteners
through storybook reading.

Children should:

1. Be native English speakers
2. Have no neurological disability such as ADHD or autism
3. Display difficulty with language in areas such as telling stories, understanding basic directions and/or learning new words.

More at website:

Contact: Kelsey Flake, 785-864-4873

Early Attention and Language Development

Our work examines many different questions about how infants and young children develop and learn. We are particularly interested in the cognitive and communication development of young children and how the social world can impact learning in these areas. This work is possible only with the help of parents who generously volunteer their time to participate!

Participants: Infants aged 5 and half to 6 and half months

Duration: Visits will take place every other month (at 6, 8, 10, 12 months of age), with one or both parents, until your baby's first birthday. We will follow-up with two visits later (at 18 and 24 months of age).

During these visits, your baby will sit on your lap and watch a series of short videos of toys and people, which will help us learn about attention development. We will also show your baby a series of toys to learn about how your child is communicating. This study will help us understand more about how attention plays a role in early language and social development.

Joint Attention Mediated Learning Intervention for Toddlers with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Their Families

We are recruiting families of toddlers under age 31 months who may have autism and who are having difficulty communicating and interacting with others. Our early intervention program has been used in other research, and now we would like to explore whether it will prove to be effective with a larger number of families. The intervention is designed to help toddlers engage socially through parent-child interaction and to minimize possible future difficulties. If you agree to participate and your child is eligible, you will be randomly assigned (by chance) to one of two groups and will receive intervention materials either gradually in weekly sessions (intervention group) or at the end of a 32-week period (control group). Both groups will receive guidance on use of the intervention materials. Program description.

 If you would like more information or would like to explore the next step in participating, please call Stacia Mitchell at 913-321-3143 or email  

Autism Training Program

We provide a training program based on Applied Behavior Analysis for those who provide services to children with autism. During this training, children with autism will participate in our hands-on teaching clinic.They will gain an opportunity to come into contact with evidence-based teaching. Children who do not currently have any home-based programming will be introduced to learning through discrete trial instruction. Those who have a home-based program will have the opportunity to generalize skills learned at home to new environments and providers.

Benefits of Participating: Your child will experience evidence-based instructional programming. You will be compensated $30 for each 2-3 hour session.

You can participate if: Your child is diagnosed with autism. Your child is 2-6 years old. You can attend the trainings every other month on Thursday and Friday mornings.

For more information please email or call:
Jessica Barr

Affect and Health Behavior

University of Kansas Clinical Child Psychology Program is recruiting adolescents aged 13-18 for the Affect and Health Behavior Study which is about understanding mood, physical actvity and diet in adolescents throughout the day. Participation in the study would be over a 20-day period of time in which you will be asked to 1) answer questions on a smartphone 4 times a day and 2) wear a heart monitor and a wrist accelerometer daily from the time you wake up until the time you go to sleep. Partcipants will be paid $40 if you complete the study. Contact the Health Promotion Science and Technologies Lab at 785 864-1287.



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