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RESEARCH STUDY ON AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
AND SYMPTOMS OF ADHD

Purpose of the Research Study

Children and adolescents are invited to participate in an important research study that may lead to a better understanding of the nature and treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms in Autism Spectrum Disorders (i.e., Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, and Asperger's Disorder). We aim to gain a better understanding of the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders and to identify differences in those who experience symptoms of ADHD and those who do not. We are also studying whether a stimulant medication treatment used for ADHD, methylphenidate (brand name: Ritalin), is effective in treating attention and behavior problems in children who both an Autism Spectrum Disorder ("ASD") and symptoms of ADHD.

Who is Eligible?

Children and adolescents between the ages of 7 and 12 years old who have an:
1) Autism Spectrum Disorder (i.e., Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, and Asperger's Disorder) OR
2) Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) [NEW GROUP]

Participants may not be eligible if they have any of the following:
1. Serious sensory or motor deficits (e.g., blindness, severe cerebral palsy).
2. Serious neurological disorders (e.g., epilepsy, stroke).
3. Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Tourette syndrome, or Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
4. Bipolar Disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder in a first-degree relative.
5. Serious physical handicaps that would interfere with performance on laboratory tasks.

What is involved?

First Phase-Psychological Screening: Participation in this study will take over two visits, lasting approximately 6 hours in total. During the first visit, they will undero a free psychological evaluation of their IQ, language, academic functioning, adaptive behavior, visual-motor skills, and a diagnostic evaluation for Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. The second visit entails computerized attention testing. Participants in this phase will receive a free psychological report of the results with recommendations and some compensation for their time.

Second Phase-Medication Treatment: Participants from the first phase who meet our research criteria for an Autism Spectrum Disorder and symptoms of ADHD--and who are medically eligible for stimulant medication treatment--will then be invited to participate in the medication phase. In the medication phase of the study, participants will take different weekly doses of methylphenidate-long acting and instant release over a 6 week period. Each week the participants will complete cognitive testing and will be seen by the study physician, with each visit taking approximately 2 hours. All participants will be examined by the study physician prior to entering the study to determine if there are any contraindications or reasons they should not take the medication.

Results of all testing is confidential and participants have the right to withdraw at any time. All risks, benefits, and requirements will be thoroughly explained prior to participation. There is no cost to participate. This study has been approved by the Committee for Protection of Human Subjects at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

What will I receive, if eligible to participate in this research study?

  • Participants enrolled in the intial testing phase will receive a psychoeducational/psychological assessment (with a written report for the parent/guardian) at no cost and some compensation for their time .
  • Participants enrolled in the medication phase will receive a physical examination and the study medication at no cost.

Where does this research study take place?

We are located in the Texas Medical Center in Houston and are part of the University of Texas Health Science Center. Our physical address is:

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Mental Sciences Institute
Center for Human Development Research
1300 Moursund
Houston,TX 77030

Click here for our map

Parking is available at no cost to the participants in the front of the Mental Sciences Institute building (lot CC).

How do I participate?

1) Contact the study coordinator at 713-500-2591 for a telephone intake, or
2) Complete and submit the CHDR Research Participant Screening form and send it by:
-email: Rosleen.Mansour@uth.tmc.edu
-fax: 713-500-2585 or
-mail to: Rosleen Mansour, Center for Human Development Research, 1300 Moursund, Houston, TX, 77030

Who do I contact ?

For further information and to find out if your child is eligible to participate, please call Rosleen Mansour at 713-500-2591 or you may email Rosleen.Mansour@uth.tmc.edu.

Printable Flyers

You may print out our flyer or tearsheet by clicking on either link below.

Autism PDF Flyer
Autism PDF Tearsheet
ADHD PDF Flyer
ADHD PDF Tearsheet

Principal Investigator

Deborah A. Pearson , Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Center for Human Development Research
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Co-investigators

Katherine A. Loveland, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Center for Human Development Research
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Cynthia W. Santos, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Child and Adolescent Family Clinic
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

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