I recently wrote about our ongoing study to understand brain activity during sleep in young children with autism and in siblings of older children with autism. Today, I want to give you a look behind the scene and show you our beautiful nap room we built for this study. We kept the room in a soothing light blue and made sure there are enough fun toys to make this a happy place for our study participants. The child naps wherever comfortable, we have a range of options form rocking nursing chair (shown below), full-size bed with a high-quality mattress, pack'n'play, and even a great car seat.
Research to understand child health and development are perhaps the best investment into our future. Unfortunately, most researchers are discouraged from pediatric research. First, it is complicated. Second, there are little financial incentives from the pharmaceutical industry since for a set of complex reasons. When we started this study, many people told us (who themselves have never done child sleep studies) that this research is very difficult and that most kids will not sleep in the lab. We took this as encouragement to prove all these people wrong and I am happy to report that the vast majority of children peacefully nap in our study! Why? We spent a lot of time optimizing all of our processes (including the lab shown below) and we have amazing researchers (postdocs, graduate students, and undergraduate students) who are not only promising junior scientists but also highly skilled and talented at interacting with infants. What is unique about our study is that this is a collaboration with the UNC School of Education, so we are getting the best of both worlds - trusted experience in interacting and studying children and their behavior and cutting-edge neuroscience to analyze and interpret the data we collect.
Interested in participating with your child in the study? Please reach out to us! You find the study flier below. Please contact my student Jessica, who will discuss the study in detail with you. Never hesitate to contact me if you have questions for me about our research.