The Study to Explore Early Development (SEED) will look at autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities in Colorado. It is the largest multistate collaborative study in the United States to help identify factors that may put children at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities.
Understanding factors that affect development
SEED’s main research goals are to compare young children (2 through 5 years of age) who have ASD, children who have developmental disabilities other than ASD, and children in the general population without a developmental disability. This comparison will yield a better understanding of the characteristics of children with ASD and genetic and environmental factors that might affect child development.
In SEED, the environmental factors studied are very broad and include characteristics of the pregnancy, the birth and newborn period, and the first few years of life to see what might affect a child’s risk for having an ASD. A key strength of SEED is its ability to look not only at detailed information on the characteristics of ASDs, but also at environmental and genetic factors at the same time to see how they all interact.
Evaluating samples from children and parents
The information will be obtained by directly evaluating the children using several established developmental instruments and procedures, conducting interviews with the mothers, and collecting saliva and blood samples from the children and their parents.
Cordelia Robinson Rosenberg, PhD, RN, Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Principle Investigator for the Colorado SEED site said, “This study represents an important opportunity to understand the causes of autism spectrum disorders and developmental disabilities. We are grateful to our study partners and the many parents who have participated in earlier studies and who have already expressed interest in this next phase.”