Current Research Studies

SARRC's Research Department is committed to identifying best practices for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screening, diagnosis and intervention, but we cannot do it alone. We look to individuals impacted by autism and their families to participate in our current research projects. Our research program utilizes rigorous research methods and is informed by the needs, preferences, and values of the community that we serve. If you have questions regarding a listed study, please contact a member of our research team at 602.218.8183.


Improving STEM Learning Opportunities for People with ASD (ages 11-18)

We want to learn more about the museum experiences of individuals with autism and their families! The results of this study will inform professional development training with museum staff designed to promote more inclusive environments. Study participation will include an online parent survey that will ask you to share information about your experiences during visits to museum centers. The survey takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete and participants receive a $10 Amazon gift card for completion. For more information, contact or 602.218.8183.

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Erchonia: Alternative Treatment Study (ages 5-12)

A non-invasive procedure using light therapy (no medications, no blood draws)

Researchers are investigating the benefits of a new potential autism treatment for kids. We are introducing an 8-week placebo-controlled study to see if an investigational device may reduce symptoms of autism. Children ages 5-12 with an autism diagnosis are eligible to participate. The study involves eight non-invasive laser light procedures with the Erchonia HLS Laser over 4 weeks. There are no blood tests, no needles, and no pills involved with participation in this study. All study-related care, tests, and study procedures are provided at no cost.

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National Institute of Mental Health OUtcomes Study

Learn about your child’s development and academic strengths in the NIMH Outcomes Study. In partnership with UCSD, SARRC is examining the developmental progress and benefits of early intervention in children with autism 6-10 years old. You will receive compensation for your participation.

A snapshot of your participation includes: 

  • Free comprehensive evaluation provided by a licensed clinical psychologist. 
  • Questionnaires about a child’s treatment, school placement and performance, and specific areas of functioning. 
  • Visits will be completed on our 16th Street Phoenix campus, following strict COVID safety policies.  
  • Families will receive $100 and a written summary of test results.

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Aging & Autism Study

In partnership with Barrow Neurological Institute (BNI), SARRC is studying the aging process of individuals with ASD. SARRC is recruiting participants with a diagnosis of ASD and without ASD including men and women ages 26-70 and 18-70 years old. Participants are asked to complete an evaluation at SARRC and then undergo an FMRI scan at BNI. During the scan, participants will complete tasks related to memory and thinking. 

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Anchor Study (Ages 5-17)

We are currently looking for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are between 5 and 17 years old to participate in the Anchor study. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of an investigational medication in decreasing symptoms of irritability in children and adolescents with ASD. After the screening visit, participation involves 3 in-office visits and 4 online telemedicine visits over the course of 8 weeks. 

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Autism and Mindfulness Intervention

Adults with ASD often experience depression and anxiety symptoms which can affect the quality of life. Participants will attend eight (8) weekly sessions involving stress-reduction education and social support that has reduced depression in adults with ASD. Our research aims to understand brain functioning before and after stress-reduction classes to help us better understand how symptom improvements relate to brain functioning in adults with ASD. This study is open to all adults, ages 18 and older, with autism.

To enroll, please contact the Autism Brain Aging Lab directly at 480.727.3970 or

App-based Mindfulness Therapy for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Adults with ASD often experience depression and anxiety symptoms which can affect the quality of life. Participants will attend daily meditation sessions using the 'Ten Percent Happier Mobile Application' for 10 minutes/day for 8 consecutive weeks. Our research aims are to assess the therapeutic potential of app-delivered mindfulness meditation in adults with ASD and to increase access to evidence-based resources. Compensation is $50 and free access to the Ten Percent Happier mobile application for 1 year and 8 weeks. 

Visit to fill out the interest form or contact the Autism Brain Aging Lab directly at 480.727.3970 or

LAPS Study (Long-term Antipsychotic Pediatric Safety)

Is your child taking Risperdal or Abilify? Would you like your child to be closely monitored for side effects of these medicines? If so, the LAPS study might be a good fit for your family! SARRC is working with The Pediatric Trials Network (PTN), to find the safest and most effective doses of commonly used medicines for infants and children. Children aren’t just little adults. Their bodies are growing and changing, meaning that they process medicines differently than adults do. 

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Janssen Study

The Janssen Study is investigating the efficacy of an investigational medication targeting the most common behavioral symptoms of autism. We are enrolling adolescents and young adults with ASD ages 13 through 35 to participate. Participants must have a study partner (e.g. parent, caregiver, significant other) available to attend all appointments. 

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SPARK for Autism

The Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative is offering SPARK—an online, long-term study of genetics and autism. SPARK will collect and analyze genetic samples (saliva) from all participants to help autism researchers learn about genetic and non-genetic causes of autism. SPARK is open to all individuals with a professional diagnosis of autism, as well as their parents. Participation can take place either in your home via mail-in kit or at SARRC.

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