The HELP Study has concluded recruitment and will no longer be accepting new participants.
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Middle childhood is a time of significant cognitive and social development for most children, but few studies of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have examined this period closely and even fewer have focused on higher cognitive development (i.e. changes in IQ, attention regulation, language abilities, and memory over time). This lack of clarity about cognitive development during middle childhood constitutes a significant gap in our understanding of ASD. To close this gap, we are conducting The HELP Study – short for The Higher Cognition, Emotional Development, and Language Processing Study.


  • Have a diagnosis of ASD, or be typically developing
  • 8 to 12 years old
  • Must understand English

What Does Participation Involve?

If you participate in this study you can expect two separate 3-4 hour visits, generally scheduled on different days. These visits will be conducted at the MIND Institute with assessments, interviews, and questionnaires. The assessments include IQ and behavioral measures, as well as attention and memory computer games.

What will you receive for participating in this study?

  • A letter reporting your child’s scores on a number of measures including an IQ measure
  • $50.00 for each visit to the MIND Institute


During the first visit, the research staff will walk you through your participation in the HELP study during a process called informed consent. The process describes the study visits, benefits, risks, compensation, and other important factors to consider when participating in a research study. You will then participate in a short interview about your child, while your child completes their behavioral and cognitive testing. When your child is finished, you will participate in a discussion task together.
During the second visit, you will complete questionnaires about your child, while he/she completes memory computer games with a member of our research team.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do you have appointments available?
We work with each family to schedule visits that are at their convenience, given the availability of staff and resources.

Will my child be able to take breaks during the visits?
We provide many breaks as well as snacks and drinks for your child.

When can I expect the results of my child’s visit to the MIND Institute?
Usually our team will have written reports prepared and sent to you within 2-4 weeks after your second visit to the MIND Institute.

Do you need more information?
Please contact one of our coordinators by phoning 916-703-0380.