For decades, scientists have been searching for the ultimate answers that will cure and prevent autism. Currently, there is no known cause or cure. However, treatment is very effective and research efforts continue to unlock the mystery to this fastest growing developmental disorder. In addition to the diagnostic, therapeutic, and residential services the Autism Treatment Center provides, research is vital to better understanding the disorder that currently afflicts 1 in every 68 children. ATC lays claim to internationally-recognized scientists, researchers, and doctors who research, write, and publish various articles about autism.

These publications are read and debated within the autism community to better serve those with this disorder and to, someday, open the world to so many children and adults with autism.

All research at ATC must relate to the mission and purpose of ATC. Some studies are limited to individuals who receive services from ATC and others are open to the community. ATC collaborates and/or receives funding from foundations, medical schools, universities and other agencies to conduct research projects.

Current Research

SMU and TCU Research Study

We are starting an exciting new research project at TCU and SMU (approved by our Institutional Review Board), in which we study the strengths and challenges of families raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder.

This criteria includes having a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder/Asperger's, being verbal, and not having a diagnosis of a comorbid intellectual disability. The study takes places on the TCU or SMU campus and families are compensated (up to $250) for their time. This research is being funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Click here to participate or learn more

Clemson University Research Study

The purpose of this research is to explore how individuals with Autism use everyday objects. The research collected may help to understand more about the factors that impact the way various individuals perceive and use objects.

Click here to participate or learn more

MGH Parental Stress Study
Needed: Parents who have children with autism

Seeking Participants for a Research Study:

Researchers at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine are offering an 8-session, 1-1.5 hours a week virtual-delivery resiliency program to parents of children with ASD. If you are parent of a child with ASD, you may be eligible to participate.

Purpose and Benefits:

We are offering a virtual-delivery resiliency program to parents of children with ASD. The program teaches relaxation techniques, stress awareness, and problem solving skills to help cope with the stressors of parenting children with ASD.

To find out more information contact Emma Chad-Friedman at

To see the Parental Stress Study flyer, please click on this link:
Parental Stress Study flyer

Early Autism Intervention (A Research Study)
Needed: Caregivers & their children with ASD ages birth-to-three

Dr. Pam Rollins is investigating the effectiveness of a parent-mediated, early autism intervention program on social and communication skills.

All visit connected to this study will take place in the family's home or a convenient location. There is no charge for participating in this study.

Eligible families will be assigned by chance (like flipping a coin) to a group that is monitored or a group that coach's parents on how to provide intervention to their child. The group that is monitored may elect to receive intervention from us (at no charge) at the completion of the study.

To find out more information email us at or call us at 214-905-3173.

To see the "Early Autism Intervention" flyer, please click on this link:
Pathways Recruitment Flyer

Family Research Study

The Family Health and Development Lab at Southern Methodist University (Dept. of Psychology) is conducting a study with families who have a child with autism spectrum disorder (high-functioning) between the ages of 8-13. The goal of the My Family Study is to understand how kids think and feel when their families have disagreements and when they are kind to one another.

Participation includes an online survey completed by the parent, and a 90-min visit to our lab with your child. Your family can earn up to $50 for your time and effort and your child will also receive a $10 toy. If you would like to find out more about participating in the My Family Study and to schedule a visit, please leave us a message at 214-768-4343 or email us at

To learn more about the Family Health and Development Lab, visit:

For Fort Worth families, visits can also be scheduled with our colleagues at the FACES Lab at Texas Christian University.

To see the "My Family" Study flyer about how to take part in a research study about families, please click on this link: The "My Family" Study Flyer

Survey: Hereditability of Sensory Processing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

ATC has partnered with Maastricht University in the Netherlands to study the sensory processing in parents and specific behaviors of their child. Sensory processing traits were recently added to the DSM-V diagnostic criteria for ASD. This study seeks to better understand the hereditability of these traits and how they relate to other psychological factors.

This survey is for parents who have a biological child 4+ years old.
You can participate whether your child has been diagnosed with
ASD or your child is typically developing and has no disorders at all. This survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes. All participants are entered in a lottery for two $50 gift cards.
To participate, please follow this link:

Evaluation of the Play Wisely Program in Children with Autism

The purpose of the study is to examine the effectiveness of the Play Wisely intervention for enhancing the parent-child relationship while developing the essential learning foundation skills in children with a diagnosis of autism, pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These essential learning foundation skills include: attention, recognition, and memory skills.  In this study, we are evaluating the effectiveness of PlayWisely therapy for children with autism, ages 2 to 10 years of age.

The program is one-on-one with a PlayWisely coach for 30 minutes, twice a week, for three months. The study began in July of 2011 and so far 17 children have participated. Although the study is still ongoing and the data has not been analyzed yet, the results have been very promising. It is apparent that the children enjoy the program and seem to benefit from it.

Human-Robot Interaction System for Early Diagnosis
and Treatment of Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorder

The purpose of this study is to investigate the differences in sensory-motor abilities between children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and those with normal-typical development. Children will interact with a robot and virtual environments projected on a large screen.  Depending on the developmental level, children will sit, stand, walk, and reach for objects. The children will be observed and their motor performance will be recorded with the intent of identifying a sensory-motor behavior marker that could potentially be used for earlier diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  ATC is working with UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth to conduct this study.


Past Research

Raising Glutathione Levels in Children with Autism

The study examined the use of nutraceutical supplemental programs to determine their efficacy in raising GSH levels in children with autism.
Autism symptoms, side effect burden, treatment adherence, and clinical global impressions were measured.

Principal Investigator – Dr. Janet Kern 
Co-Investigator – Dr. Carolyn Garver
Funded by ARI (Autism Research Institute)

Evaluation of Equine-Assisted Activities in Autism

The purpose of the study was to evaluate the impact of equine-assisted activities provided by Spirit Horse Therapeutic Riding Center on the parent-child relationship, sensory processing, language, autism severity, behavioral outcomes and quality of life in persons with autism.

Principal Investigator – Dr. Janet Kern
Co-Investigator – Dr. Carolyn Garver
Funded by Timberlawn

Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Autism

Kay Lewis, University of Texas, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Pediatrics and Neurology with ATC- to determine the possibility of mitigation of autism symptoms as a result of VNS implants for epilepsy control. Preliminary results have been promising. Possible future study: Dr. Lewis has recommended that, in a fashion similar to the current VNS project, ATC should conduct baseline and intervention evaluations, on a proposed study of possible interventions, e.g., ear drops or electronic masking, to increase Speech-in-Noise Intelligibility in individuals with autism. This is arguably the auditory analog of the visual perceptual-social deficit discussed as mind blindness.

Principal Investigators –
Dr. Kay Lewis and Alonzo Andrews
Funded by Autism Treatment Center

Sensory Processing Issues in Autism

The purpose of the study was to better understand the extent of and the role of sensory dysfunction in autism, study the mechanisms underlying sensory defensiveness in ASD, and evaluate participants in terms of age and severity. 

Principal Investigators –
Dr. Janet Kern and Dr. Carolyn Garver

CAT-D (Computer Accommodations for Texans with Disabilities)

The project proposal: ATC with UT Department of Special Education, College of Education - to expand diagnostic services to evaluate for augmentative communication devices; to develop training systems utilizing hand-held computers, presented by video clips a task analysis to prompt interaction, self-care, vocational, and leisure skills. 

Principal Investigators –
Dr. Jeff Sigatos, Dr. Mark O’Reilly and Alonzo Andrews

REAP (Research and Evaluation of Autism Preparation) Center, under the auspices of Cheryl Fielding:
Educational Psychology Department, College of Education, University of Texas Pan American

To prepare UTPA students to participate in and/or conduct full individual evaluations (FIE) of children suspected of having autism and to provide appropriate educational recommendations for public school instructional and related services.

With the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) – a state-of-the-art assessment protocol as a centerpiece, interdisciplinary team members from throughout the state can convene with teleconferencing to evaluate an individual at the REAP center, and develop recommendations through a grand rounds process.

TRAINA (Texas Research and Information Network for Autism)

After a TIF (Telecommunication Infrastructure Fund) grant established a virtual classroom, with the San Antonio and Dallas centers and the University of Texas Pan American, originating at Southwest Texas University (Dr. Webber’s graduate Autism class), and was the impetus for conceptualizing the virtual clinic. 

Principal Investigators –
David Young, Dr. Carolyn Garver and Alonzo Andrews
Funded by CAT-D project

The Effects of a Comprehensive MRT-based Elimination Diet
on CNS Function in Individuals with ASD

The ATC conducted, as a follow-up to the previous year’s pilot study, a study of the Mediator Release Test, to determine if this blood test could be an efficacious means of determining food sensitivities in order to mitigate CNS system. To be published in conference proceedings: Building Bridges. Sunderland: Univ. of Sunderland, Autism Research Unit (2002). Presented at two state, one national, and one international conference. 

Principal Investigators –
Dr. Ted Kniker and Alonzo Andrews
Funded by Autism Treatment Center

The Possible Role of Intolerance to Milk/Dairy and Wheat/Gluten Foods
in Older and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The ATC investigated possible metabolic processes relevant to ASD and a dietary intervention to improve Central Nervous System dysfunction (2001). Published in conference proceedings: An Autism Odyssey. Sunderland: University of Sunderland, Autism Research Unit (183-191). This study was the subject of two Reuters-London articles, April 5, 2001 and June 13, 2001, and was cited in the Autism Research Review International (ARRI), Dec. 2001 and ANDI (Autism Network for Dietary Intervention) News, summer 2001, as well as being presented at two state, one national, and one international conference. This was the Autism Treatment Center’s initial entry into the research arena. 

Principal Investigators –
Dr. Ted Kniker and Alonzo Andrews
Funded by Autism Treatment Center