Study to Explore Early Development

Research Goals

Goal 1: To understand the health and behavior of young children.
To better understand if certain health or behavioral characteristics are found in all children or only those with developmental issues or Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), this study will evaluate and compare:

  • Temperament and behavior
  • Cognitive development level
  • Health issues
  • Physical development: Height, weight and head size

Goal 2: To explore infection and immune function within families.
Researchers will study whether certain illness patterns within a family increase the risk for developmental delays or ASDs. We will ask families about specific diseases or conditions and for permission to review birth records information of the child.

Goal 3: To explore medical issues during pregnancy and how they may relate to developmental delays or autism spectrum disorder.
Some pregnancy complications may affect a child’s development. Researchers will ask to review the birth records of the child and ask the mother details about her pregnancy.

Goal 4: To explore the role of genetics in autism and other developmental disorders.
Certain behaviors or family circumstances might only be important in the development of ASDs if the family has certain genetic traits. To collect genes researchers will ask families to provide saliva samples.

Goal 5: To explore how family characteristics and behaviors are related to developmental delays and autism spectrum disorders.
We want to explore whether certain lifestyle factors might affect a child’s development or risk for ASDs. Families will complete questionnaires and interviews including questions about parents’ lifestyle both during the pregnancy and during the child’s early years.

Goal 6: To create a bank of biological samples and data for future studies of developmental issues and ASDs
We will ask families for permission to save their information and samples for future research. Information to be used in future research will not contain individual contact information for families. This will allow other researchers to look at the information in new ways when new tests are developed but protect families’ privacy.