Volunteer Info


Is your child between 12 & 24 months of age and showing no signs of delay in their development? If so, you can help us develop new tools to measure behaviors that young children show during play. We hope that these tools will let us measure early communication and social behaviors in much greater detail than currently possible. We also hope our tools will someday help clinicians better evaluate how therapies and treatments improve communication and social skills in children with autism or developmental delays.

It Takes Two Visits...Call it Baby’s First Volunteer Gig!

Visits 1 & 2 will each take up to 3 hours and include a variety of assessments of your child's language, cognition, and play. Visit 2 will take place one year after Visit 1. If needed, you can split each visit into two shorter appointments on two separate days.

During each visit, our trained research staff will complete two toy-based developmental assessments with your child at a small table. These assessments focus on perceptual and cognitive abilities, language, and fine motor skills. Next, a trained research assistant will play with your child. She will first present a variety of toys and activities to your child, one by one, including wind-up toys, a balloon, and a spin-top. She will also sing a song, gently tickle your child, and look at pictures in a book. Then she will bring out two boxes of toys, one at a time, and let your child choose toys to play with. She will also play with bubbles with your child. The play session will be videotaped and audio recorded. We may ask your child to wear small, bracelet-like sensors on their wrists to capture arm movements. We may also ask your child to wear a shirt or vest with a microphone in it to capture your child's sounds and words.  

Here’s the information we will need from you:

  • A signed research consent form
  • A child and family background form
  • Up to four parent forms that ask questions about your child's communication and play behavior

And that’s it! Your child gets a fun playdate, and you will receive $50 at Visits 1 and 2 as a thank you for your time. 

Due to COVID-19, we are not currently seeing families in our lab to maintain social distancing and safety protocols. However, please feel free to complete an application online if you are interested in volunteering for this study or would like to learn more about it.  Once we are able to safely do so, we will resume enrolling families in our study. We are also working to ensure that our study procedures will prioritize the safety and well-being of our staff and your families once we are able to resume.

Thank you for your continued interest and patience during this time! We hope you and your families stay safe and healthy.