Current Research Studies

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CAND) conducts patient-oriented research to develop strategies for better health outcomes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental disorders.

These studies provide important information on the underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders as well as the efficacy of novel interventions in individuals with ASD, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and comorbid conditions. The studies are led by Dr. Jean Gehricke, Associate Research Director, Dr. Peter Chung, Medical Director of The Center for Autism, and Dr. Robin Steinberg-Epstein, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician at CAND.

The registry collects clinical information on patients with ASD in order to better understand, improve, and standardize the care of children with ASD..

We are actively recruiting for this study. View more information here

In this study we investigate the effects of physical exercise on anxiety in children with ASD. Participants were asked to participate 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks in a physical exercise intervention or LEGO/Minecraft control intervention. Parents completed questionnaires and participants provided saliva samples.

Due to COVID-19, ECHO Autism has been canceled in April and will resume online through Zoom on May 6, 2020.  For more information and questions, please email


The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of California of Irvine (UCI) started our ECHO-Autism series on September 4th, 2019 and will continue the series through September 2020.  This ONE HOUR teleconference webinar is designed to bring the expertise of our HUB team of autism specialists to medical and educational professionals in the community, all without anyone having to leave their office.

UCI’s ECHO-Autism aims to reach medical and educational professionals, in California and across the country, who might be interested in an online teleconference series focused on Autism and how to best serve individuals with autism of all ages both in medical practices and educational settings.  We will be utilizing the ECHO model of tele-mentoring which allows high-quality specialist care and input for local communities.  For more information on the ECHO model and program, please visit one of our sister sites, The Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

Topics for the ECHO-Autism teleconferences will include:  While You Wait for a Diagnosis, Anxiety and ASD, ADHD and ASD, What is Autism, Special Education Process, Supporting Families, Sleep and ASD, Autism Resources, Introduction to ABA, Irritability and ASD, Feeding Issues and ASD, Constipation and ASD, and many more. 

The Center for Autism will be holding ECHO’s the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month from 12pm-1pm (PST).  Once a month there will be a didactic presentation where a member of our HUB team will teach from a PowerPoint focused on an area of their expertise.  Also once a month there will be a case presentation session where one of the ECHO-Autism participants will have the opportunity to present a de-identified case from their own practice and ask specific questions and receive recommendations from the HUB team.  There will be time for Q&A before wrapping up the ECHO at around 60 minutes total duration. 

Attendance at these webinars is completely optional.  We are able to accommodate as many participants as would like to attend so if you know of colleagues or coworkers who you feel would potentially be interested in ECHO-Autism, please pass this information along to them.  We are also currently offering CME credits for attending the ECHO-Autism webinars!

View more information here

The purpose of this study is to examine if successful treatment of functional constipation results in the improvement of ASD-related behaviors and oxidative stress. 

The purpose of this project is to examine the effects of a tailored career counseling tool for individuals with ASD. 

This project focuses on the effects of Minecraft Therapy on attention, processing speed, and collaborative as well as creative activities. Minecraft engineers are UCI students trained in coaching children with autism and ADHD.

The aim of this project is to examine a curriculum designed to enhance vocal communication and social skills in a fun and creative atmosphere using LEGOs. Coaches are trained students from UCI, who will assist in building LEGOs, communication, and social skill development.