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Research Opportunities


Research is a non-negotiable topic in the world of autism. As more research is conducted, more strategies can be provided for those living on the spectrum. Below are some research projects currently underway. If you are interested, please contact the agency directly. 

Children's Mercy Hospital

CMH is doing a study to try to figure out how many calories adolescents with intellectual disabilities eat every day. The best measure of calories is an isotope called doubly labeled water, which measures the calories used by the body. This liquid isotope is made out of hydrogen and oxygen, just like water, and is consumed like a drink. To measure calories a person drinks the isotope, then researchers collect urine samples to measure how quickly the isotope leaves the body, which shows how many calories that person’s body used. However, this measure cost a lot of money, so researchers need to find out if other methods can work just as well. Previous work in adolescents without disabilities found that writing down everything someone eats as well as taking photos of the what they eat, can correctly measure caloric intake. This study is being done to determine if writing down what your child eats as well as taking photos of those meals can correctly determine how many calories adolescents with intellectual disabilities eat every day.

If you are interested in this study, we would come out to collect urine samples from your child 3 times in a 15-day period, we would also ask you and your child to fill out everything you have to eat and drink for 3 days, as well as take photos of those meals.

In return your adolescent would learn how many calories they use every day, and receive $100. The study only last 15 days and does not require any driving.

We will be recruiting through March 2019 so you don’t have to start doing it right away.

If you are interested or would like more information let me know or contact Meredith Dreyer Gillette or Lauren Ptomey, PhD, RD, at lptomey@ku.edu.

Meredith L. Dreyer Gillette, PhD | Pediatric Psychologist

Divisions of Developmental and Behavioral Sciences and Weight Management

Children’s Mercy Kansas City

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

UMKC School of Medicine

P: (816) 302-3009 | F: (816) 302-9977

E: mldreyer@cmh.edu | W: childrensmercy.org

2401 Gillham Road | Kansas City, MO 64108


The University of Kansas

Autism Spectrum Disorder Studies

KU has studies of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) which aim to characterize sensorimotor and cognitive functioning development in ASD. They interpret behavioral measures and measures of brain function and anatomy to examine the neural mechanisms involved in ASD. These studies are open to individuals ages 10 through 25 years old with a diagnosis of ASD, Asperger’s Syndrome, or PDD-NOS.

If you or your child is interested in participating in the ASD study, please fill out this form or contact KU directly via phone (785-864-4461) or email (ndrlab@ku.edu).‚Äč



SPARK—a landmark autism research project—aims to make important progress possible. SPARK stands for ‘Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge,’ and the mission is simple: they want to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives. If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, learn more about SPARK here. 

SPARK works with research partners from all over the world to engage families and adults with autism in research studies. All of the studies are evaluated for scientific merit, and a SPARK scientific committee approves them.

SPARK matches participants with research studies based on characteristics such as age, diagnosis, medical history, location and more. Some of these studies are online, and some are in person.

SPARK does not share any information with researchers until participants give their permission. Participants in SPARK are always in control.