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SEED 1, 2, 3 (preschool age) Research Goals

Goal 1: To understand the health and behavior of young children

To better understand if certain health or behavioral characteristics are found in all children or only those with developmental issues or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), this study evaluated children’s:

  • Temperament and behavior
  • Cognitive development level
  • Health issues
  • Physical development: Height, weight and head size

Goal 2: To explore infection and immune function within families

Researchers are looking at whether certain illness patterns within a family increase the risk for ASD. We asked participating families about specific diseases or conditions they might have had.

Goal 3: To explore medical issues during pregnancy and how they relate to developmental delays or ASD

Some pregnancy complications may affect a child’s development. Researchers asked the participating child’s mother details about her pregnancy.

Goal 4: To explore the role of genetics in autism or other ASD

The circumstances surrounding the development of ASD may depend on the presence of certain genetic traits. To collect genetic material, researchers asked families to provide saliva samples, and for some families, blood samples. SEED researchers will seek additional funding to examine possible genetic aspects of autism or other developmental issues. This long term goal does not allow us to provide genetic reports to families.

Goal 5: To explore how family characteristics and behaviors are related to developmental delays and ASD

We are exploring whether certain lifestyle factors might affect a child’s development or risk for ASD. Families completed questionnaires and interviews including questions about parents’ lifestyle both during the pregnancy and during the child’s early years.

Goal 6: To create a bank of biological samples and data for future studies of developmental issues and ASD

We asked families for permission to securely save their information and samples for future research. This will allow researchers to look at the information in new ways when new tests are developed but still protect families’ privacy.

SEED Teen and SEED Follow-Up Study Research Goals

Goal 1. To better understand how children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop as they age.

Researchers are interested in how the health, functioning, and education status of SEED participants change or stay the same as children get older.

Goal 2. To better understand the service needs of children, adolescents, and young adults with and without ASD or other developmental disabilities.

SEED researchers also want to learn more about health care, education and/or job services, and other community services that are available to families and, especially, how families of children with and without ASD use those services across different stages of life.

Goal 3. To understand the impact on families of caring for children, adolescents and young adults with and without ASD or other developmental disabilities.

The researchers want to learn more about the impact on families of having a child with ASD or another developmental delay or disorder. They hope to get a better understanding of how those impacts, such as safety or financial concerns, differ when children are at various ages or stages of life.

Goal 4. To examine factors directly affecting children as they age.

The SEED researchers want to understand differences and similarities between children with ASD or other developmental disorders and children without these, at different ages. Researchers want to learn more about other conditions that children and teens get such as digestive issues, sleep problems, and mental health challenges. They are also interested in teens’ and young adults’ experiences with school, friends and peers, and getting a job.