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For Families | Overview

Centralized Recruitment Initiative

If your family is seen in our Developmental Medicine Center, you may be contacted about research opportunities around the time of your visit. Joining a research study is completely optional. We want to let you know about all studies in case you are interested. If you are, we will connect you with the research teams.

Meet the study coordinators who work on the Centralized Recruitment Project on our Research Team page. You may see them in clinic or talk to them on the phone. Come say hello! We would love to talk to you about our research!

Social Stories

Social Stories are a learning tool that uses pictures and words to help kids (and parents!) prepare for new experiences. Our study teams have put together social stories specifically for our families participating in research. The stories take you through the steps of a study’s visits, so your child can learn about who they will be meeting and what they will be doing during the study.

To use the social story, we recommend reading it with your child a few times a week leading up to the study visit. Our goal is to make study visits as successful as possible! Clinical versions of social stories, for example about planning your trip to give a blood sample, are available too, on the My Hospital Stories page.

Looking for clinical resources? Please visit our Developmental Medicine Center page.

What have we learned from research?

α2-Adrenergic Agonists or Stimulants for Preschool-Age Children With Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

For young children with ADHD, behavioral treatment is the first recommended therapy with stimulant medication recommended if that is not sufficient. This study looked at kids less than 6 years old with ADHD who took two types of medications (stimulants and alpha-2 agonists) intended to treat ADHD. Doctors found that both types of medicine helped most of the children who took them. However, one mediation type (alpha-2 agonists) caused more sleepiness while the other medication type (stimulants) caused more loss of appetite, moodiness, and difficulty falling asleep. These findings indicate that alpha-2 agonists may play a helpful role in treating young children with ADHD. However, more research is needed to better understand the effectiveness and side effects of different medication options for young children with ADHD.

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Preschool Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Telephone Medication Management at Developmental-Behavioral Pediatric Network Sites

This study looked at how often developmental-behavioral pediatricians (DBPs) from seven medical centers use telephone visits to make ADHD medication decisions. The authors found that pre-pandemic telephone visits accounted for almost half of the encounters at which medication management decisions were made. Access to ADHD care can be improved by combining in-person encounters and telephone encounters and should be considered in ADHD care models moving forward.

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Identifying Subgroups of Toddlers with DSM-5 Autism Spectrum Disorder Based on Core Symptoms

This study looked at 500 toddlers diagnosed with ASD to see if there are patterns/classes of ASD symptoms that tend to group together in young children. Additionally, the authors studied how a child's developmental and language levels are related to these ASD symptom classes. The study found that different patterns exist for social communication symptoms versus restrictive, repetitive symptoms. The social communication symptoms fit into three classes, differentiated by level of severity. The children in the most impaired social communication class also had the lowest developmental and language scores. Restrictive, repetitive behavior symptoms fit best into two classes. The class with more restrictive, repetitive behaviors had more participants with higher cognitive and language abilities. Future research is planned to determine if these patterns of ASD symptoms recognized at the time of diagnosis are associated with later developmental outcomes.

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A preliminary randomized, controlled trial of executive function training for children with autism spectrum disorder

Executive function, which is a set of thinking skills that includes stopping unwanted responses, being flexible, and remembering information needed to solve problems, is a challenge for many children on the autism spectrum. This study tested whether executive function could be improved with a computerized executive function training program under the guidance of a coach who reinforced the use of executive function skills. Brain responses of the training group changed following training, although children who received training did not exhibit behavioral changes during the two lab-based tasks. Children who received training were reported to have fewer restricted and repetitive behaviors following training.

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