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Infant Brain Imaging Study
Funded by the National Institutes of Health

UW Autism Center

What is the purpose of this study?

Drs. Stephen R. Dager and Annette Estes, researchers at the University of Washington, want to learn more about brain development in young siblings of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The information gained in this study may improve methods of early detection, improve intervention for infants who may be at risk for developing autism, and lead to better outcome for young children and their families.



Who may participate in this study? What are the criteria?

Families with:

  • An infant baby who is 3 months of age or younger AND
  • An older sibling who is EITHER typically developing OR has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

What does participation in the study mean?

  • Developmental assessments at the University of Washington Autism Center and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scans at Seattle Children’s Hospital four times between 3 and 24 months, as well as one follow-up developmental assessment after 36 months.
  • Developmental screening for the older sibling with ASD.
  • Completion of questionnaires and phone interviews for parents.

What is the time commitment for participation in the study?

At each time point, you will be asked to complete a questionnaire packet (1-2 hours); a parent phone interview (1.5-2 hours); participate in one or two assessment visits at the UW Autism Center (1-2 hours each); and go to Seattle Children’s Hospital for an evening MRI scan. Every child is seen at 3 and 24 months, in addition to two more visits at 6, 9, 12, or 15 months. At 36 months, there will be a follow-up assessment at the UW Autism Center, a questionnaire packet, and a parent phone interview.

What will my family get out of the study?

  • All families will receive developmental evaluations of their infant at each time point, along with a detailed clinical report.
  • All families will receive advice regarding appropriate intervention services.
  • Information regarding your children’s developmental profile can be used in educational planning.
  • Advice and referral information regarding your child’s development and behavior.
  • Complete compensation for you travel and time, in addition to a check for $75 at each time point.

What are the risks of participating in this study, and what safeguards are in place to minimize any risks?

This study is approved by a human subjects committee at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and all efforts are made to minimize any potential risks. Psychological and behavioral testing of your child may reveal difficulties with language, mental processing or socialization, as well as a diagnosis of an ASD at 24 months of age, which will be reported to you with appropriate follow-up recommendations. Similarly, although no clinically significant brain structural findings are expected, all MRIs will be evaluated by a board-certified pediatric neuroradiologist, and you will be informed of any clinically significant findings with appropriate follow-up recommendations.

Who are the investigators involved in this project?

Annette Estes, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator and Director of Network Behavioral Assessment 
Steve Dager, MD, Co-Principal Investigator
Tanya St. John, PhD, Project Director (UW Site)
Jessica Greenson, PhD, Research Scientist
Christina Meehan, Research Study Coordinator

Whom should I contact to get involved?

This is a network project involving researchers at five other academic institutions throughout North America. Additional IBIS information is available at

To learn more about IBIS, please contact our research coordinator at (206) 543-2125 or by email.IBIS

University of Washington and Seattle Children's Hospital
Infant Brain Imaging Study
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195

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