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Current Studies

Below you will find a list of current studies being in our lab and in our collaborators' sites. If you would like to participate in any of the studies, please visit the Experiment Sign-Up page.

ADDL studies

SFU Study on Special Interests among Children, Youth, and Adults:

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci

What do we want to know? Many children and adults are fascinated by particular classes of objects. The goal of this study is to understand how special interests develop in children, youth and adults. We are examining how a special interest in trains and/or elevators from a young age influences learning about trains and/or elevators vs. learning about social stimuli. For example, do individuals who are experts in trains and/or elevators recognize and process these objects as easily as they recognize faces (a class of objects known to be prioritized by our attention system)?

Who are we looking for? Children, Youth, and Adults of all ages who have a special interest, or are experts in either trains or elevators (or both). We are looking for people with and without a diagnosis Autism Spectrum Disorder

About the study: This research will take place in the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus. You will be asked to fill out questionnaires, and the person with the special interest will participate in various computer tasks. 

**If you or your child has an intense interest in something other than trains (e.g., dinosaurs, trucks, etc.), we would love to hear from you!

(Online Study) Quality of life in families of children with ASD: From diagnosis to Adulthood

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci

What do we want to know? The overall goal of this study is to gain a better understanding of how family quality of life may change across the lifespan of individuals with autism, and to identify the domains that contribute most positively to families’ quality of life as well as those from which families derive the least satisfaction.

Who are we looking for? We are looking for any caregiver of a child with autism.  The main caregiver may be a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a life partner, or other family member. Anyone in British Columbia is eligible to participate because the study will be conducted using an online survey.

About the study: Participants will complete an online survey.  The total time commitment is approximately 30-60 minutes.  For this study, a $10 gift card will be provided.


Collaborators' studies

Parent Survey on Sound Sensitivity

Principal Investigator: Dr. Elina Birmingham

Are you a parent to an individual with ASD? Does your son or daughter (any age) experience issues with sound sensitivity that impacts their daily life? We want to hear from you! We are surveying parents about their child’s experiences dealing with sound sensitivity. The survey will take under 30 minutes to complete (approx 15-20 min). As a thank-you for your time you will be given the option of being entered in a draw to win a $100 gift card to

To complete the survey please visit this URL (you may need to copy and paste it into your browser):

For questions or to learn more, email [ |

A letter from Dr. Fijal - Research at Awake Labs


We hope this email finds you well! We would like to inform you that we are currently recruiting participants for a study to help our team, Awake Labs, design Reveal: a wearable device and smartphone app to measure the physiological signs of anxiety in real time for children with autism, in order to provide insight into care and promote long-term independence.

During the study, we present participants with prototypes and mockups of Reveal to get feedback. We will also collect physiological observations using an existing device that measures heart rate, skin temperature, and
changes in skin conductance. This study will only take up 2 hours of your time, and our team will travel to participant's homes, or anywhere else they feel most comfortable in conducting the study.

Here are some additional details:

1. Eligible participants are those who a) Have an ASD diagnosis b) Do not take anxiety related medications c) Live in the Lower Mainland
2. Further details about the study can be found in the Consent Form.
3. We ask that eligible participants organize the presence of their primary OT, BI, or other caregiver during their participation in this study. Awake Labs will cover all costs associated with their participation. We will have a standardized tool to help record observations during the trials.
4. If you are interested in learning more, please do not hesitate to ask any questions you have about the study and Awake Labs! We love to hear from you. We can be reached through or 604-970-3482 (straight to Paul Fijal's cellphone!).

Participants who qualify for this study will sign the Consent Form in the presence of an Awake Labs team member. Willingness to participate is entirely voluntary; choosing not to participate in this study presents no consequences to potential participants. Please also note that this study does not guarantee any direct or immediate benefits to participants.
Thank you, and we wish you all the best!
Paul Fijal
Product Dev | Awake Labs |
skype: paulfijal | tel: 6047909805 | 1 604 970 3482 [Canada]

Wanted: Parent Participants, Prizes Available!

Abbi Graves from the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria is actively recruiting parent participants for a study examining parenting experiences and behaviours in families with a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study has been approved by the University of Victoria Research Ethics Board (Protocol Number: BC15-381). If you have two children between the age of 16 months and 8 years (a child with ASD and a younger sibling), you may qualify to participate. The study can be completed entirely on-line and will take approximately 20-25 minutes, there is no child participation required. Prizes available! Please contact Abbi at for more information.