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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 Autism Spectrum Disorder (i.e., Autistic Disorder, PDD-NOS, and Asperger's Disorder) or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and who have IQs between 50 and 140. Previous IQ testing is not necessary to be eligible for this study--IQ testing will be done as part of the study's clinical assessment.

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?

If interested in participating in this research study, a parent or legal guardian can contact us for an initial screening (please see below for contact information). This brief screening process will involve questions about the child's behavior and symptoms. Children who meet the research criteria will be invited to undergo psychological and cognitive testing that will take one or two visits, lasting approximately 6 hours in total. Participants 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 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. Local travel expenses may also be covered for eligible families. 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.
  • Participants enrolled in the medication phase will receive a physical examination and methylphenidate treatment 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).

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.

You may also complete this 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

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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