The Toy Study

Examining the development of vision and touch in preschoolers and young children with ASD.


What are we studying?

Atypical responses to sensory stimuli are very common in ASD, but little is known about how sensory processing like vision and touch may predict later social impairment in children with ASD. Using 3D printed objects and toys, this interactive study investigates the development of vision and touch, and how these sensory modalities can affect social outcomes in children with ASD.

How can you help?

We are seeking both typically developing children AND children with a diagnosis of ASDs* aged 4 to 7 years old to participate. To be eligible, children must be able to follow verbal instructions.

*If no formal diagnosis has been made, an evaluation will be provided.

What’s involved?


Diagnostic & Developmental Assessments

Participants will be asked to answer some simple questions and complete tasks like drawing and solving puzzles in a play-based evaluation. Parents will be asked to fill out some questionnaires and answer questions about their child’s developmental history.

Exploring Toys & Practice Brain Scan

Participants will look at and feel objects and toys, and practice holding still (in a pretend MRI scanner) for the real brain scan.

Brain Scan

Participants will undergo an MRI brain scan. Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) are simply pictures of the brain that we collect using strong magnetic fields. These scans are safe, and no sedation is used.

Get Compensated

Participants will be compensated for their time after each visit, and will also receive a small toy and picture of their brain!




If you think your child may qualify for this study, please get in touch!


Call (619) 594-0176 or email us at