Current Studies

All studies advertised here have been approved by the SFU Office of Research Ethics and any corresponding institutions when applicable. If you are interested in participating in a study listed below, please contact us.

Online Study - Experiences with Autism Assessment in Adulthood

Pictured: A person in a t-shirt and jeans sits on a couch, leaning forward with their hands together. Credit to Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

What was your experience with being assessed for autism as an adult?

What do we want to know? We want to know about your thoughts about the process of the assessment, how the assessment made you feel, and any other effects it may have on your emotional well-being and quality of life. This study was developed by a neurodiverse team of autistic, otherwise neurodivergent, and neurotypical researchers in collaboration with autistic people / people with autism.

Who can participate?

  • Adults (ages 19 years and older) who went through the process of autism assessment as an adult in Canada.
  • This includes those who did and did not receive a diagnosis after the assessment process.

What to expect?

  • You will complete an online survey about your background, personality traits, and mental health.
  • You then have the choice of doing an interview with one of our researchers over Zoom to discuss your experiences with the assessment, or you can answer these questions in an online survey.
  • The survey will take about 1 hour, and you will be compensated $10 (e-transfer or Amazon gift card).

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Ethics Protocol #30000621.

How to sign up? For more information or if you are interested in participating in this study, please contact the Autism and Developmental Disabilities (ADDL) at addl@sfu.ca or call at 778-782-6746.

Click here for a colour advertisement for the study

Click here for an audio version of the advertisement for the study

Online Study - How Parents/Guardians and Teachers See Kids on the Spectrum Differently

Pictured: Several children standing in a circle playing with a multi-coloured parachute outside on a sunny day. Credit to Artem Kniaz on Unsplash.

What do we want to know? We want to understand why some kids get flagged for an autism assessment and others don’t. In particular, we are investigating whether camouflaging, or hiding one's autistic traits, is related to how people in a child’s life see the same child differently. We also want to understand how this relates to different factors about the child, such as their gender, autistic characteristics, and mental health.

Who are we looking for?

  • Parents/Guardians of autistic kids aged 8 to 12 of any gender
  • Must live in the Lower Mainland of BC and be enrolled in out-of-home school

What to expect?

  • You will be asked to fill out an online survey about your child that takes about 15 minutes to complete. You will then receive an email directly from a survey publisher's website due to copyright restrictions to complete another 15 minute online survey. The study will take 30-45 minutes to complete in total. 
  • We will also be inviting your child’s teacher to participate and complete a 15 minute online survey. Whether your child’s teacher chooses to participate or not does not impact your participation in the study, and neither you nor your child’s teacher are under any obligation to participate. 
  • You will be entered into a draw for one of ten $20 Visa gift cards with a one in five chance of winning.

How to sign up? For more information, please contact Hilary Aime by email at hastudy@sfu.ca. To participate now, click here: https://sfufas.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2hLHh5fMpdXQPit

Prinicipal Investigators: Dr. Grace Iarocci and Dr. Tanya Broesch, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Ethics Protocol #30000040. This study has also been approved by the major school districts within the Lower Mainland.

Online Study - Sound Sensitivity Study 

Pictured: Black headphones lay atop colourful confetti. Credit to Ryan Quintal on Unsplash.

What do we want to know? We are currently recruiting adults with a diagnosis of ASD (without an intellectual disability) who have specific issues with sound sensitivity. We are interested in learning more about how adults on the autism spectrum cope with sound sensitivity, how sensitivity has impacted their lives, and physiological and behavioral reactions to certain sounds played through a set of headphones. Sound sensitivity includes being over-reactive to sounds in general, or certain types of sounds.

Who are we looking for?

  • Adults (ages 19+) diagnosed with autism
  • Must experience over-reactivity to sounds in general and/or certain types of sounds
  • Must live in the Lower Mainland of B.C., have access to internet in a private location (e.g., bedroom), and are willing to be video recorded over Zoom

What to expect:

  • You will be asked to complete online questionnaires about your experiences with sound sensitivity
  • We will deliver sanitized materials to you, including a tablet and headphones
  • Over Zoom, we will play certain sounds at different volumes to determine your comfort level with these sounds
  • We will then use our new technology to help with sound sensitivity and ask you for your input
  • This will take approximately 1.5 hours
  • We are offering $20/hour or portion thereof

How to sign up: For more information or if you are interested in participating, please contact us at addl@sfu.ca

Principal Investigators: Dr. Elina Birmingham [ebirming@sfu.ca] and Dr. Grace Iarocci [giarocci@sfu.ca], Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Ethics Protocol #2017s0177

Click here for a colour advertisement for this study

Click here for a plain-text advertisement for this study

Online Study - The Relationship Between Language Preferences, Autism Acceptance, and Mental Health

Pictured: A blue hat, reading “Humanize Humanity”, rests upon a chain link fence. Credit to Steve Leisher on Unsplash.

What do we want to know? Is it ‘person with autism’ or ‘autistic person’? We want to learn how language preferences about autism develop and how they relate to autism acceptance and mental health. This study was developed in collaboration with autistic people / people with autism

Who are we looking for? 

  • Parents and caregivers of a person diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

What to Expect:

  • You will complete an online survey about your language preferences, your involvement in autistic and autism communities, how you feel in social situations, and your basic background information.
  • The survey takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Principal Investigator: Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C. Ethics Protocol 2020s0437.

How to sign up: Click here to be taken to the consent form and the study!

If you have any questions, please contact the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab (ADDL) at addl@sfu.ca.

 

Partnership for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Addiction (PAAD): To Develop Concerted Services for A Better Social Participation

Study on Autism and Addictions: Focus Group Invitation Letter

Click here for a copy of the advertisement.

Click here for the consent form.

What do we want to know?

Although recent research has shown that some people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be at increased risk of developing addictions, there is a lack of specialized services targeting individuals with ASD and addictions (both substance and behavioural addictions) and we still do not have a good understanding of how best to support this population. We are interested in learning more from service providers in both the ASD and addictions sectors about their experiences working with individuals with ASD and co-occurring issues with substance use, internet use, gaming, and/or gambling. We plan to use what we learn to develop a framework and training materials for best practices in treating people with ASD and addictions.

Who can participate in the study?

To participate in the study, you must be a psychosocial worker or administrator working in autism or addictions related services. You do not have to have direct experience working with individuals with co-occurring ASD and addictions.  

About the study:

The study will involve completing a virtual focus group with seven other people working in either autism or addictions services, facilitated by a co-investigator at SFU and the local principal investigator, Dr. Grace Iarocci. We will ask the group a number of questions to facilitate discussion of the groups experience and opinions on providing services for individuals with ASD and co-occurring addictions. The focus group will be conducted virtually over BlueJeans or Zoom (a secure video calling platform), you are also able to join the discussion via phone if preferred. The focus group will take about 1 – 1.5 hours to complete and will be will be audio recorded (for data analysis purposes). As a thank-you for your time, we are offering $20/hour for the time you spend participating. More information on participating in the study, including information on participant privacy and data storage is included in the focus group consent form (also attached to the email you received from Autism Community Training).

How do I participate?

If you are interested in participating in the focus groups and would like more information about the study, please contact Madelaine Ressel, the SFU co-investigator (email: mressel@sfu.ca, phone: 613-850-4846) to sign up for the focus group. Please note that email and phone are not secure methods of communication, and we cannot guarantee your confidentiality in any of these types of communication with the research team. To protect your privacy, we ask that you do not include any identifying information (such as your full name or address. In addition, in order to participate, you must email (to mressel@sfu.ca) your signed consent form in a password protected document to the research team PRIOR to your scheduled focus group and send the password in a separate document. Only individuals who have returned their written consent will be able to participate in the focus group. Instructions on how to password protect your written consent are provided at the end of the consent form.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Grace Iarocci, Professor, Simon Fraser University (SFU), Dr. Marie-Hélène Poulin, Professor, University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT)

SFU Co-investigator: Madelaine Ressel, Graduate Student, SFU

Pictured: A black and white photo features the silhouette of a person lighting a cigarette in their mouth. Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash.

Study on Autism and Addictions: Individual Interview Invitation Letter

Click here for a copy of the advertisement.

Click here for the consent form.

What do we want to know?

Substance (alcohol, drugs, and non-prescription medication) misuse, cyber dependence (internet and gaming addictions), and problematic gambling usually start in the teenage years or early adulthood and can cause some serious consequences. Although recent research has found that people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) may be at increased risk of developing addictions, we still do not have a good understanding of how best to support individuals with ASD and addictions. We are interested in learning more from young people on the autism spectrum who struggle with addictions about what they need from community-based services.

Who can participate in the study?

To participate in the study, you must:

  1. Be a young person between the ages of 16 and 30 years old.
    1.    And have a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
    2. And struggle with substance use (alcohol, drugs, etc.), internet use, gaming, or gambling.
  2. Have access to the internet (because we are conducting interviews virtually).

If you sometimes have difficulties with communication, you can choose to have someone, who knows you and how you communicate well, with you during the interview to help make communicating with the researcher easier. This should be someone you trust and who you don’t mind sharing personal information in front of.

About participating in the study:

The study will involve completing a virtual interview with the study co-investigator at SFU. She will ask you questions about yourself, your consumption of substance/the internet/gaming/gambling, any services you have received, and what might be missing from the services you have received. Because addictions can be a sensitive topic, we encourage you to ask a “support person” (i.e., a trusted friend or family member) to be with you during the interview, so that you can ask for support if you need it. The interview will take about one hour and will be done over BlueJeans or Zoom by using either video or just audio (based on your preference). As a thank-you for your time, we are offering $20/hour for your time. More information on participating in this study, including how your privacy will be protected, is available in the study consent form (also attached to this email).

I need more information before I decide whether or not to participate:

If you are interested in participating in the study and would like more information, please contact the study co-investigator at Simon Fraser University, Madelaine Ressel (email: mressel@sfu.ca, phone: 613-850-4846). Please note that email and telephone are not secure forms of communication, and so we cannot guarantee your confidentiality in any email or phone communication with the research team.  To protect your privacy, please do not include any identifying information (like your full name or address) in any communication with the research team.

How do I sign up to participate?

If you would like to participate, the first step is to contact the SFU co-investigator, Madelaine Ressel (either by phone: 613-850-4846, or email: mressel@sfu.ca) to schedule your interview. The second step is to email your PASSWORD PROTECTED consent form (also attached to this email) to Madelaine before your scheduled interview. You will not be able to participate in the interview if we have not received your password protected consent form. More information on how to password protect your consent form is at the bottom of the consent form.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci, Professor, Simon Fraser University

Co-Investigator: Madelaine Ressel, Graduate Student, Simon Fraser University

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