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Faja Laboratory | Ongoing Studies

GAMES Project (Gaming for Autism to Mold Executive Skills)

What if playing video games could help children with autism have better executive functioning?

Brief Description:

Here in the Faja lab we are testing new computer games to improve executive functioning in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

So far, there have only been two published studies using interventions to improve executive functioning skills in children with ASD. In the GAMES Project, we will test whether computer games that have improved executive control, self-regulation and brain function among young, typically developing children are beneficial for children with ASD.

Eligibility for Study Participation:

7-11 year olds with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders.

Participation Details:                  

Caregivers will complete 2 screening phone calls and questionnaires about their child. Children will complete 5 visits to Boston Children’s Hospital. During some visits, children will complete EEG, a non-invasive recording of brain activity.

Some children will receive 5-10 x 1-hour training visits using game-like computer activities. If your child is not assigned to the training group, he/she may receive training at the end of the study if it is shown to improve executive function.

Families will potentially benefit by helping to test a new intervention. All families will receive a feedback report about their child’s development, free parking, childcare for siblings, and up to $100 for participating.

Full Description:

Executive function is the ability to manage complex or conflicting information in the service of attaining a goal. It is necessary when conflicting thoughts, feelings, or responses must be resolved or a learned response must be inhibited. Executive functioning skills improve throughout development and encompass a range of interrelated domains, including inhibition, attention regulation, set-shifting and working memory.

Executive function is especially important for children with ASD because, in addition to core ASD symptoms, over half of school-age children with ASD exhibit deficits in executive function in the absence of general intellectual disability. Difficulties can start in childhood and persist throughout adulthood. The ability to manage conflicting information and perspectives is an important social skill. In particular, the ability to represent the thoughts, beliefs and feelings of others is related to executive function, above and beyond language ability and intelligence.

For more information about participating: Please email the GAMES PROJECT or call 617-919-4108

Get the inside scoop about the study!


Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials (ABC-CT)

What is the study about?

The aim of the consortium is to develop reliable and objective measurements of social function and communication in people with autism. Using EEG to measure brain function, eye tracking technology to measure visual attention, and automated recording techniques to assess behavior and speech, children will be monitored over a six-month period.  In addition to the behavioral measures and biomarker data, this community resource will also include DNA samples from children with ASD and their parents for use in future genetic studies. The goal is to create a set of measures that can be used in clinical trials to determine which treatments are best for which patients and who will benefit from a particular treatment. The ultimate goal is to validate a set of tools that will enable clinicians to objectively measure and predict how children with ASD respond to treatment.

How much time does it take?

Caregivers will complete a screening phone call and questionnaires about their child. Children will complete in-person study visits to Boston Children's Hospital over a 6 month period. Scheduling is flexible including weekends.

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Who can be in the study?

We are currently recruiting both typically developing children and children with a diagnosis of ASD.

Who do I contact if I'm interested in hearing more about the study?

To learn more about the study or to participate, please call us at 857-218-3182 or email abc-ct@childrens.harvard.edu.

Future Projects

We also anticipate future projects that will seek:
  • Twins with autism spectrum disorders and typical development.
  • Adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders.
  • School aged children with ADHD and typical development.

If you are potentially interested, please sign up for our participant registry.


Please continue to check this website for updates about when recruitment will begin for these studies. You can also sign up for the Division of Developmental Medicine Participant Registry if you are interested in hearing about studies in your child(ren)'s age range. Please click the button below to sign up, and here for more details. 


See how our team participates too!

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