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Research study at CHOP

Participants needed

We are pleased to share information about a research project taking place at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to gain a better understanding of how children with language delays understand sounds and words. The researchers, Dr. Timothy Roberts and Dr. Emily Kuschner, are in the final year of this study and making an extra effort to recruit more families to participate. You can read an article here that reviews some exciting early findings from the study.

Who can participate
Children with an Intellectual Disability or a developmental delay who are 8-12 years of age.
Children 8-12 years of age with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder who are minimally verbal or nonverbal.

These groups of children are often underrepresented in neuroscience research, so the doctors at CHOP are trying to reach as many families as possible to enroll in the study. While there are no direct benefits to taking part in the study, your participation may ultimately help other children with little or no speech.

What participants will be asked to do
1. Visit the Roberts Center for Pediatric Research. Your child will complete a number of tests to measure their language and problem-solving skills. Parents will be asked to complete a few questionnaires about their child’s development.

2. Visit the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Your child will complete non-invasive brain imaging. Your child may watch a silent movie while they lie in the scanner and hear sounds presented to them over the speaker in the room.

Participants will be compensated for their time in the study and may receive a short report summarizing their language and problem-solving skills. Free parking and a small toy for your child will be provided following each visit.

The doctors at CHOP have been particularly pleased about the success they have had with their clinical and behavioral protocol in enabling children to comfortably complete the brain imaging visit in the study. Dr. Mina Kim, behavioral specialist, helps prepare families for their study visits by using visual supports and practice materials to explain what to expect during each visit. Dr. Kim also attends the brain imaging visit and helps guide each child through the procedures. The CHOP team is very experienced in working with a wide range of individuals with developmental disabilities. They recognize that these visits are a lot to ask from any child, and as a result, take great care to ensure each child and their family have a positive experience.

To discuss study participation, please contact:
Morgan Beck, Research Assistant
Roberts Center for Pediatric Research
Center for Autism Research
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 
Phone: 267-425-1150

For information on other studies taking place at CHOP, visit Clinical Trials Finder at

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