Autism Spectrum Disorder Pediatric Research & Innovation

We are in an exciting time. Research and innovations in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are increasing at a rapid pace.

New electronic apps for ASD are appearing every day. These can run on tablets and other mobile devices and are using visual supports to help children with ASD learn new skills, anticipate new situations and communicate. Read more on our blog.

Current autism research at Boston Children’s includes:

  • Finding “biomarkers” that would allow an early diagnosis of ASD, before symptoms even appear. These include genetic tests, markers in blood and urine, electroencephalograms (EEGs) of the brain, and studies that track eye movement.
  • Finding genes that cause ASD, which can in turn lead to a better biological understanding of autism and perhaps new targeted drug therapies.
  • Studies of uncommon genetic disorders that include autism-like symptoms, seeking genetic causes and biological mechanisms that might provide insight into ASD in general.
  • Laboratory research looking at differences in how brain connections form in children with ASD, and how those connections change over time.
  • Stem cell studies: Using skin cells from patients with ASD, researchers can create stem cells and then transform those into brain cells (neurons) which can be studied to help understand how autism begins in the earliest stages of development.
  • Clinical research seeking to improve sleep disorders and seizure disorders in children with ASD.

For more on ASD research and innovation at Boston Children’s Hospital, visit our science blog, Vector.

Contact Us

Boston Children's Hospital 

Autism Spectrum Center
Call Center:  617-355-7493
Fax: 617-730-4823

Our coordinator will make the first available appointment based on an intake process that considers your child’s specific needs. For example, children who also have seizures may be directed to a neurologist within the Center, while children with speech, language and communication difficulties may be referred to our Autism Language Program, part of the Center for Communication Enhancement.

Appointments are available in Boston and at many Boston Children’s satellite locations to provide you and your child with care closer to home. The Call Center can help direct you.