Mechanisms of Social Engagement in Autism Spectrum Disorders


This study will examine the early development of basic social skills in young children. We will observe how children with various developmental delays and typical development look at people and perceive speech. This research will lead to the development of new methods to diagnose developmental delays in toddlers, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It will also help us identify key areas for early intervention.

  • 10- to 24-month-old children with developmental delays, including ASD
  • 10- to 24- month-old typically developing children

Your child will watch pictures of objects and people on a computer screen, as well as watch several short videos and listen to sounds. All children will be given a developmental assessment, and those with suspected developmental problems will also be administered a diagnostic assessment. Parents will complete several questionnaires regarding their child's development and adaptive behavior.

The testing will last up to eight hours which will be divided between two or three visits to our lab. We will schedule all appointments at your convenience.

Parents of children with identified developmental delays will have the opportunity to discuss the findings with a clinician and will subsequently receive a written report summarizing the assessment results. In addition, children will receive a gift certificate.

Your child can be in this study if he or she is either:

  • 10 to 24 months old and has either suspected or identified delays in social, communication, cognitive, or other areas, and if the child has no visual or hearing impairment, seizure disorder, or any known genetic syndrome.
  • 10 to 24 months old and has no delays, visual or hearing impairment, seizure disorder, or identified genetic syndrome.

The study has been approved by the Yale Human Investigations Committee, protocol #0707002885. The examiners working with your child have extensive experience with toddlers.

This study is funded through the National Institutes of Mental Health.

If you would like more information about this study, please contact Evelyn Pomichter at (203) 764-5933.