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We are the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University in the Department of Psychology. Under the direction of Dr. Grace Iarocci, we conduct research on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and other Developmental Disabilities.

Please feel free to explore our webpage for news, publications, and opportunities to participate in research.

Online Study - Measuring Sound Sensitivity

Principal Investigator: Dr. Elina Birmingham, Simon Fraser University
What do we want to know?
We are investigating how individuals experience sounds in their everyday environments, and how sensitivity to noise, when it occurs, impacts daily living and mental health. You do not need to have sensitivity to noise to participate in the study. 
Who are we looking for?
Adults with and without a diagnosis of ASD, over the age of 19 years old.
About the study:
Participants will be asked to fill out a series of questionnaires, including basic information about themselves, their social behaviours, their experiences with sounds, and questions about satisfaction with various areas of life.
The study should take approximately one hour. As a thank-you for your time, we will enter you into a draw to win one of four $50 (CAD) Amazon gift cards.
Email study coordinator Troy Boucher at for more information. 

To access the study, please use the following link:

Study - PEERS Follow-Up Study

To view the advertisement, please click here!

This study advertisement is posted on behalf of Brittni Thompson as part of her Master's thesis under the supervision of Dr. William McKee at the University of British Columbia.

Are you a parent who has participated in PEERS?

Would you like to talk about your experiences with participating in PEERS and supporting your adolescent's social skills? The information you share about your experience will inform how to better address parent's needs, and may assist with developing parent programs in the future.

Study Purpose: To learn more about parent experiences in PEERS and to determine which things about your experiences were helpful or less helpful to your adolescent and your family in managing your adolescents' social skills.
Who: Parents who have completed the PEERs program within the last three years.
What is involved: A confidential individual online interview using Zoom (approximately 45 to 90 minutes) and an optional follow-up telephone interview (approximately 20 to 30 minutes).
Participation in this study is voluntary. Participants who participate will be provided with a token of appreciation for their time.
Please contact Brittni Thompson if you would like to participate, or if you have any questions:

A Practical Evidence-Based Self-Help Program for COVID-19-Related Worry and Low Mood

The Valley Centre for Counselling has created a six-session program for worry and low mood related to COVID-19. They are free and publically available on their website: These sessions may be of value to those currently affected by the current global health crisis. 

Please note that the ADDL is not affiliated, endorsed, or officially connected with the Valley Centre for Counselling. The official Valley Centre for Counselling website can be found here: Please contact them should you have any questions pertaining to the published content. 

CLOSED - FREE Spring-Break Day Camp for Children with and without ASD - March 2020

The 2020 Spring Break Camp is closed. We will have similar opportunities this year during PD days and our annual SFU Social Science Camp in July. 


Click here for a flyer for the Spring Break Camp

Are you looking for a fun experience for your child during their Spring Break this March? The Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab (ADDL) is hosting FREE half-day sessions from March 16th to March 27th! The Spring Break Experience will take place in the ADDL located at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus.

Children with and without a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder will get to engage with one another in various activities, play exciting games, make lots of crafts, and participate in research and learning activities. This experience is available for free through a research fund, so we ask that caregivers complete surveys about their child for research purposes (most surveys can be completed online).

Who can attend?

Children ages 3 to 12 with or without a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. We ask that children are able to use the toilet without assistance from staff, otherwise, a caregiver or support worker must remain with the child during the session.

Dates and Times:

Children can attend one session on one of the following days:

  • Monday, March 16 - 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Monday, March 16 - 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, March 17 - 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday, March 18 - 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Thursday, March 19 - 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Thursday, March 19 - 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Friday, March 20 - 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Monday, March 23 - 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Monday, March 23 - 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, March 24 - 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday, March 25 - 11:30 am to 3:00 pm
  • Thursday, March 26 - 9:00 am to 12:30 pm
  • Thursday, March 26 - 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Friday, March 27 - 9:00 am to 12:30 pm

Contact and Registration:

To register your child for the Spring Break Experience, please use the following link:

Please complete the registration form for each child that will attend.

If you have any questions, please contact the ADDL at or 778-782-6746

Study - Sound Sensitivity in Children with ASD - Ages 11 to 18 years old

Please click here for the advertisement for this study!

Investigators: Dr. Elina Birmingham and Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University

Who are we looking for? Children diagnosed with ASD between the ages of 11 to 18 years old who experience issues with sound sensitivity.

What do we want to know? Sound sensitivity is very common in ASD, and can interfere with family life and participation in daily activities. We are interested in learning more about how adolescents on the autism spectrum cope with sound sensitivity, and how sensitivity has impacted their lives. Sound sensitivity includes being over-reactive to sounds in general, or certain types of sounds.

About the study: The study will involve two sessions. The first session will involve an initial interview where the adolescent and caregivers are asked about their child’s experiences dealing with over-reactivity to sounds in the child’s environment. The second session will have the adolescent listen to a variety of different sounds while their bodily reactions are monitored with a non-invasive wristwatch.

This study will take approximately 6 hours over 2 sessions (for persons with ASD) and 3 hours over 1 session (for parents). The first session will take place at UBC. The second session will take place at either UBC or SFU Burnaby. 

As a thank-you for your time, we are offering $20/hour or portion thereof for persons with ASD and $10/hour or portion thereof for parents.  If you are interested in participating, please contact study coordinator Troy Boucher (Email:, Phone: 778-782-6746), and please provide your phone number so that we can contact you to provide further information.

Focus Group - Parents of Children with ASD with Sound Sensitivities

Click here for a PDF version of the advertisement for this focus group!

Are you a parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who experiences sensitivity to sound? We are interested in understanding what strategies children and their families use to cope with being sensitive to sounds in their environments. In addition, we are seeking user feedback on an innovative technological solution for addressing sound sensitivity.

Who are we looking for?

Parents of a child with ASD, of any age and who experiences sensitivity to sound, to be a part of a focus group. 

About the focus group:

The focus group will take place on March 12, 2020 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the SFU Surrey Campus.

As a participant in this focus group, you will first take part in a discussion with other parents and researchers that focus on families' experiences coping with sound sensitivity. Second, we will demonstrate a new technology that we have developed to support children with sound sensitivity. As part of a multiple-stage development strategy, we are seeking feedback at each phase to ensure that we are meeting our users' expectations.

Signing a non-disclosure (confidentiality) agreement will be required to participate in this focus group study. Your total time commitment should you choose to participate will be approximately 2 hours. As a thank you for your time, we will provide you with a $25 gift card.

This study involves audio recording the discussion to ensure that we accurately capture what has been expressed. Neither your name, your child’s name, nor any other identifying information will be associated with the audio recording or the transcriptions of the discussion. Only the principal investigator and co-investigators will have access to the recordings. As with all the data from this project, the recordings will be securely stored in a locked file cabinet at Simon Fraser University.

Please use the following link to register:


If you have questions, please contact the researcher coordinator, Troy Boucher.


Phone: (778) 782-6746



Study - Roleplaying / Larping in ASD

Posted on behalf of Kari Gustafson, PhD Student at Simon Fraser University.

Do you have an ASD diagnosis, or are you the parent of an individual with an ASD diagnosis?  Do you (or does your child) participate in larping (live action roleplaying) or tabletop roleplaying / RPG games (such as Dungeons & Dragons)?  I am a PhD student in the Faculty of Education. I would like to interview individuals from ages 13 to 60 with ASD (and/or their parents) about their experiences with larp and roleplaying activities and groups.

The interview can take place anywhere you choose, and will take 60-90 minutes. As a thank-you for your time I can offer you a $20 gift card. If you would like more information or are interested in participating, please contact Kari Gustafson at

Online Study - Partnership for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Addiction (PAAD)

Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University (SFU)
Dr. Marie-Hélène Poulin, University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) 
What do we want to know?
The purpose of the project is to describe the lifestyle and using habits of substances, internet and gambling of young people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. 
Who are we looking for?
Individuals ages 16 to 30 with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
About the Study:
Teenagers and young adults (ages 16 to 30) with ASD are invited to complete an online questionnaire (about 60 minutes in length). The teens and young adults who complete the online survey have a chance to win a $20 gift card among all respondents. Five gift cards will be randomly drawn.

To access the population survey, click on the following link:
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Kelly Tremblay, research project coordinator by email (

Online Study - Social Competence and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University

What do we want to know?

This study explores what people think about social competence and the ideas people have about what it means for a person to have good social skills. As part of this study we will explore how participant characteristics such as opinions on social competence, age, occupation, experience working with individuals with diverse populations (i.e., individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder), relate to judgments of the social competence of a group of adults viewed in video format.

Who are we looking for?

About the Study:

This research can be completed online, or in person, at the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus. You will be asked to fill out questionnaires, and watch brief video clips where you will be required to make judgments about individuals in the videos. This study takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. Upon completion, you will be entered into a draw to win a $100 visa gift card.

If you are interested in participating in our research, please contact us by email at or by phone at (778) 782-6746.

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