Stanford Brain Development Project


The Stanford Brain Development Project seeks to understand how changes in the brain are related to changing cognitive abilities in children as they develop. Our projects have two primary objectives:

  1. To understand how math skills develop and are represented in the brain, in order to indentify how children with math learning disabilities can be helped.
  2. To understand how cognitive, language, math, and social abilities are represented in the brain in children with autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders.

We invite your participation in our ongoing research projects and thank you for your interest. Your participation helps us to discover the brain basis of abilities and disabilities, and is important for conducting the basic research that will eventually contribute to the development of more effective treatments and therapies for young children with developmental disorders. If you'd like to learn more about our lab, you can check out our main site here.

Actively Recruiting Studies

Speech in Autism

Seeking children ages 7-12 with High Functioning Autism

The goal of this research project is to discover how the brains of children with autism differ from other children, and how these differences can contribute to strengths in academic domains such as Math.

Participants receive:

  1. Up to $200 for completing the study
  2. Pictures of their brain

This study consists of 6 appointments:

  1. Appointments 1 and 2: Neuropsychological testing
    During the first two appointments your child will undergo a series of neuropsychological assessments performed by Stanford assessors. The assessments include measures of IQ, reading, memory and math abilities. Part of appointment 2 will also be devoted to familiarize the participant with the brain scanner (MRI) procedures. Appointments 1 and 2 will last 1.5 to 2 hours each. Participants are compensated $50 for completing the neuropsychological testing!
  2. Appointments 3 - 5: Math and Autism testing
    The third appointment consists exclusively of math testing, and will last 1.5-2 hours. Participants are compensated $50 for completing the math testing! The fourth appointment consists of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). This is a ‘play’ based assessment in which the trained clinician observes the child’s behavior during a series of structured and semi-structured  tasks targeted at assessing social interaction skills. This appointment lasts approximately 1 hour. The fifth appointment consists of the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI). This is a structured interview between the clinician/ assessor and the parents aimed at assessing autistic traits in the areas of social interaction, communication and language. The child does not participate in this interview. This appointment lasts approximately 3 hours.
  3. Appointment 6
    During the sixth appointment participants will undergo a brain scan (MRI). Durign the scan, participants will respond to computer-based tasks while pictures of their brain are taken.

An MRI scan is a safe, non-invasive procedure that does not use x-rays or radiation.

This appointment lasts 2.5 hours to 3 hours and participants are given $50.

Participants will receive compensation based on the number of appointments completed and participants can receive up to $150.

Appointments 2 to 6 can be scheduled in any order, according to what works best for our families.

All appointments will take place on Stanford’s campus near the Stanford Hospital.

Questions? See our FAQs or get in touch.