Current Studies

If you are interested in participating in any of our current studies, please reach out to us at crehanlab@tufts.edu.

Sexuality Survey

Looking for: adults 18+ with and without a diagnosis of autism

The purpose of the study: The questionnaire asks about sex education experiences, including what topics were covered, which topics you wish had been covered, and at what age those topics would have been most informative. Additional questions ask about identity-related factors (such as sexual orientation and gender identity), relationships (such as your goals and experiences), autistic traits (such as social responsiveness, repetitive behaviors, and theory of mind), and mental health domains (such as anxiety).


Sexuality Education Study

Looking for: Adolescents between the ages of 13-17 with ASD, residing in the US, and able to consent for themselves. A parent/guardian will need to participate in the screening appointment as well.

The purpose of the study: We are examining how the structure of sexual education curriculums for adolescents with autism impacts satisfaction and outcomes.

What you would do: A participant and a parent/guardian schedule a screening appointment with us on Zoom (60-90 minutes). During the appointment, you and your parent answer a few questions on your previous sexuality experiences, daily behaviors and friendships. You will then be assigned to an individual or group session to participate in an 18-week program (1 hour per week). After you complete some follow-up surveys, you will be paid $40 for your time.


IEP Project

Looking for: Caregivers of children ages 3-22 who have an autism diagnosis

What you would do: Submit an IEP and complete surveys on satisfaction with your child’s IEP.

Purpose of this study: Our research seeks to understand the nature of educational inequity for students with ASD by exploring the impact of developmental category, symptom severity, race, culture, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on the special education services provided to students ages 3-21.

¡También disponible en español!


Eye Tracking

Looking for: Children ages 8-12 with a diagnosis of autism, ADHD, autism and ADHD, or without a diagnosis of either, plus one parent/caregiver.

What you would do: Attend a one-time study visit at the lab for about 60-90 minutes. During this visit, the child will view a series of images and videos on a computer while their eye movements are tracked using an eye tracking camera. They will also wear an “Empactica” bracelet on their wrist to track heart rate. They may also complete a brief IQ screener. The parent/caregiver will bring a copy of a recent assessment for the research team and complete some questionnaires. Families will be paid $20 for their time.

The purpose of the study: We are exploring how eye movements can provide important information to distinguish between autism and ADHD, which can be challenging clinically.


Access to Adult Healthcare

Looking for: Healthcare providers in primary care and/or OB-GYN care

What you would do: Attend a 1.5-2hr training program on autism in adulthood (can be split into multiple sessions, available in-person or on Zoom) and complete a pre-and post-survey

The purpose of the study: Our long-term goal is to reduce barriers to care for autistic adults in the Boston area by increasing knowledge at the provider level.

Focus Groups and Individual Interviews for Spanish-Speaking Families: Increasing Sex Education Accessibility for Autistic Adolescents

Looking for: Adolescents (ages 11-18) with a diagnosis of ASD and their parent/caregiver whose primary language is Spanish

What you would do: Discuss experiences and barriers for adolescents with ASD through one-on-one interviews and small focus group sessions

Purpose of this study: Our study, “Focus Groups and Individual Interviews for Spanish-Speaking Families: Increasing Sex Education Accessibility for Autistic Adolescents”, aims to incorporate culture-specific perspectives into sexuality and relationship education, so that we may know how to adapt this programming in a way that is more accessible and useful for Spanish-speaking families. With your help, we hope to determine how to best approach these barriers and address them in the future. 


Electronic Device Accessibility Study

Looking for: adults 18+ with physical disabilities and their primary caretakers with experience using accessible electronic devices

What you would do: Complete a 45 min-1 hour interview to speak about your experiences and barriers using an electronic device. Participants will be paid $20 for their time.

Purpose of this study: We would like to hear from people with physical disabilities and their caretakers about their experience using electronic devices to assist them. The interviews will inform the creation of resources that will be distributed to healthcare providers with the goal of improving access and knowledge about accessible electronic devices.


Remembering Movies and TV Shows: Autistic Young Adults and Sense of Identity

Looking for: Autistic young adults ages 18-24 who currently live in the United States

What you would do: Fill out an anonymous questionnaire on your relationship to children’s movies and tv shows and their roles in your sense of identity. 

Purpose of this study: This study seeks to explore how children’s movies and tv shows may have influenced autistic young adults’ lives and sense of identity.


Partnership Studies

Contact: afrench01@tuftsmedicalcenter.org