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IDeAS  Improving Diagnosis of Anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorders

What is the study about and what are its goals?

IDeAs is a research project that will help us understand better how children think and feel when they are afraid, what makes them anxious/nervous and what happens in their body when they are experiencing these thoughts and feelings. We are also interested to find out more about children’s activity during the day and sleep during the night. This study is interested to look at the changes in children’s body while they are experiencing stress/anxiety. If we can find out more about how you think and feel in different situations that make you nervous, we will be more able to help you and other children cope better with these thoughts and feelings and experience all sorts of situations at the same time.

What does the study involve?

We would like to know what you and your parents think about your fearful situations. At the same time, we would like to look at how your heart rate, skin, respiration, voice change when you experience stress.
This study is a basic research study that looks at the changes in children’s body while they are experiencing stress/anxiety. It involves filling in questionnaires about your parents and your social skills, fears and fearful situation. You can complete this at home or at the clinic with the assistance of one of the researchers. Subsequently, you will be asked to attend the clinic for one or/and two meetings with the researchers.
At this meeting, the researcher will go through a stress task with your. This involves a self presentation for 5 minutes and performing mental arithmetic calculation in front of two or three unfamiliar persons for 10 minutes. While these two tasks take place we will have a monitor that will be attached to the child’s body and electrodes. This will help us record your heart rate, skin response, respiration and voice before, during and a while after the task. The meeting takes about one hour. Some children may find these tasks very easy, for others it may be more challenging.
We will give you to wear a watch that will record your sleep In two separate nights. This will be very easy as you don’t have to do anything special just sleep as you usually do. 
We will also ask for your collaboration with us in collecting the saliva samples which will have to take place five times per day, two days in a row. The reason we need to do this is to look at the level of stress hormones in two regular school days of a week. We will need to take a few samples of saliva before and after the stress task. There will also be collected two saliva samples to look at how the hormone melatonin influences your sleep.

How will my child’s privacy be protected?

We will keep your child´s information on a secure database in which the information will be confidential and anonymous using a unique study code. Only researchers who are participating in this study will have access to this data.
You do not have to take part in this project if you do not want to, but we hope you will be able to help research. You may withdraw from the study at any time without any consequences. . This will have no impact on your child’s treatment. To withdraw from the study you need to inform the researchers involved in the study.

What should I do now?

If you would like to take part in the study, please ask your parents/guardian to contact 01- 8962315 or autism@tcd.ie. You can also go to our website for more information. We will then get back to you to organise the first session.


Last updated 23 November 2016 by School Web Administrator.