The Study to Explore Early Development Phase 3, or SEED 3, is a five year, multi-site collaborative study that will help identify what might put children at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental delays. It is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participating sites include: Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Children who are invited to participate in the study must:

  • Be born between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2017 and be between 2 1/2 and 5 when they are in the study.
  • Be born and still living in the 14-county area – Alamance, Chatham, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Guilford, Johnston, Nash, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rockingham or Wake Counties.
  • Be living with their biological mother.
  • Child and mother must speak and understand English without the use of an interpreter.
This age range was selected for a few reasons:

  • to reduce the amount of time since pregnancy and early development so that parents can remember the events during these time periods better,
  • so families are less likely to have moved away from the study area and
  • so it will be near the beginning of treatment for children in developmental intervention programs.
If you know someone who meets the study eligibility criteria and is interested in learning more about the study you may have them call the SEED Helpline toll-free at 1.866.633.8003. Families who refer themselves must have an eligible child who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Families of children without Autism must be directly invited to participate.
It is important that we work with a wide range of families in order to gain an accurate understanding of child development. For that reason we are inviting all kinds of families to participate.
No, this study does not include any type of medical treatment, intervention, or medication. We will be studying the characteristics of children and families to learn more about the causes of autism and other developmental delays. This may lead to better services and treatments for children with developmental issues.
You can refuse any study activity and still participate in other study activities. However, it is important for the research that we get a complete picture of every family so we encourage families to complete all study activities.
The assessments are conducted at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) in Carrboro, near UNC Chapel Hill, at the Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) in Greensboro, or at the Children’s Developmental Services Agency (CDSA) in Raleigh.
Study results will be released to the public as soon as they become available. Because the study involves so many families, we will be collecting data from 2017 through 2021. After that the data will need to be analyzed. Once data analysis has been completed, the results will be reported. Some analyses may be conducted before the study data collection is over and those results could be released earlier. Families who participate in SEED will receive a study newsletter twice a year that may include some of these early results. This newsletter notes general study progress, announces any publications of research results from the first and second waves of the study and provides helpful parenting information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received a Certificate of Confidentiality which guarantees that any information collected that could identify you or your family will be used only for this study. Your information cannot be given to anyone else unless you give your written consent or unless otherwise required by law. In addition, each site must follow security and confidentiality regulations set up by the federal government and the local Human Subjects Protections Committees.
Routine questions about scheduling, explanation of procedures, or similar matters about SEED 3 should be addressed to the SEED Helpline toll-free at 1.866.633.8003 or Email Us.

If you are a participant in a study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and have questions or concerns about your rights as a research participant you may contact, anonymously if you wish, the Office of Human Research Ethics by calling 919.966.3113 or by Email.

Your child’s doctor is the best person to discuss your child’s development with you.