Autism Research Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Lab Northwestern University

Connecting the dots to improve lives.

Autism is a developmental disability characterized by difficulties with communication and social functioning, as well as restricted and repetitive behaviors or interests. Fragile X is the most common known genetic cause of autism. Today, 1 in 59 American children is diagnosed with autism.

The causes of autism are complex, but genes play a key role. At the Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Laboratory at Northwestern University, our studies work to clarify the nature of communication challenges associated with autism, and to investigate how some subtle language features might run in families and may be connected to the genes involved in autism.

Our studies involve individuals with autism and their family members, and use leading-edge technologies to study language and cognitive processes. We’re currently recruiting individuals with autism or fragile X syndrome and their parents, grandparents, and siblings – as well as individuals without autism and their families – to participate in an important family study. We’re especially interested in families who grew up in Iowa, because we have an established relationship with the University of Iowa where we can access [with permission] family members’ standardized test scores.