The Center for Autism Research Excellence (CARE) at Boston University is home to one of the world’s first research studies focusing on signing deaf children on the autism spectrum. This research aims to understand how autism affects sign language development in children exposed to a sign language from birth. We hope that our study will lead to better treatment options for deaf children as well as a better understanding of how autism affects learning in both deaf and hearing children.
This research is funded by a three-year postdoctoral grant to Dr. Aaron Shield from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), one of the National Institutes of Health, and a research enhancement grant from the Autism Science Foundation.
- Our recent paper in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders on the use of sign language pronouns by deaf children with autism has been featured by a number of different outlets: the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) Leader, the Daily Texan, and the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative (SFARI).
- Aaron Shield, the Principal Investigator of the Deaf Autism Research Project, recently wrote a piece for the SFARI website commenting on possible differences in the autistic experience of selfhood.
- The Deaf Autism Research Project has concluded and is therefore no longer recruiting participants. We thank all of the schools, families, teachers, and children who made this research possible. THANK YOU!
- Publications describing the findings of the Deaf Autism Research Project are starting to come out. Recent publications include:
- Shield, A., Meier, R.P., & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2015). The use of sign language pronouns by native-signing children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.
- Shield, A. (2014). Preliminary findings of similarities and differences in the speech and sign language of children with autism. Seminars in Speech and Language, 35, 309-320.
- Mood, D., & Shield, A. (2014). Clinical use of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition with children who are deaf. Seminars in Speech and Language, 35, 288-300.
- Szarkowski, A., Mood, D., Shield, A., Wiley, S., & Yoshinaga-Itano, C. (2014). A summary of current understanding regarding children with autism spectrum disorder who are deaf or hard of hearing. Seminars in Speech and Language, 35, 241-259.
- We have answers in American Sign Language (with English subtitles) to some questions that people frequently have about autism.
- Visit our Facebook page!
- Principal Investigator Dr. Aaron Shield published the findings of his dissertation about the signing of children on the autism spectrum in the Journal of Communication Disorders in 2012.
- Read Dr. Aaron Shield’s guest blog about his predoctoral fellowship from Autism Speaks here.
- The Deaf Autism Research Project is being featured on the blog Autism Light!