The Bruckner Autism Research Center​

Projects

Follow-up study on students with ASD who are integrated in academic programs at Ariel University

The study follows students with ASD who are integrated in academic studies in a special program at Ariel University. The follow-up would last for three to four years, while the students are completing their Bachelor’s degrees. The study focuses on the social, adaptive daily living skills and academic gains made throughout the BA, and the factors that can predict greater achievements in the defined domains. 

Characterization and standardization of symptoms in ASD

This study aims to characterize and establish standardization for several verbal and non-verbal behaviors that differentiate children with ASD from typically developing children of the same chronological or developmental ages. Behaviors under investigation include eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, pragmatic communication abilities, linguistic level and more.

Advances analysis techniques are in use.

Event related potentials (ERPs) in ASD

The purpose of this study is to compare the electrical brain activity of individuals with and without ASD in several cognitive tasks. We examine several cognitive processes that are known to be affected in ASD and look for the differences in their brain activity records. Defining the differences in an objective measure such as ERPs might lead to a better understanding of the cognitive processes in ASD and to the establishment of a new diagnostic procedure based on ERPs.

Dog training as intervention for children with ASD

The study is carried out in cooperation with “The Association of Dogs for People”.
The study examines the effectiveness of a new intervention program of ‘dog training’ with kindergarten children. The study includes 70 children with ASD in special preschools in Modiin. Half of the study population receives the intervention for 4 months (November 2018-February 2019) and the other half serves as control group for this period of time.

The second half of the study population will receive the intervention in the following four months. The intervention includes approaching a trained dog, establishing a relationship with the dog, giving verbal and gestural instructions to the dog, and participating in peer and group activities with the dog.
Assessments of autism severity, verbal abilities, anxiety level and adaptive behaviour are performed at pre and post intervention time to evaluate any possible effects of this novel program on the children’s functioning.

Dog training

In this study we examine adolescents diagnosed as toddlers with ASD. Information such as cognitive ability, adaptive skills, autism severity, comorbidities, social abilities and activities, familial stress, and intervention history is collected. The study aims to examine outcomes and to pinpoint predictors for best outcome in ASD.

This study follows young adults with a diagnosis of ASD who volunteer to serve in the IDF in a special program (“Roim rachok”/”Looking ahead”). The study examines the changes in social, communication and behavior domains during their time of service. Data is collected from the ASD soldiers and their commanders.

“Smart Glove” technology for enhancing communication and language uses an innovative app on the Android tablet called “Little Hero”. The new device aims to enhance initial communication and language of young children with ASD who have not  developed verbal communication. The new technology motivates the child to initiate communication by including a sticker with a special code (RFID) on the exchanged picture.  

In this project, 12-16 year-olds with ASD will receive intervention using robots. The participants will program the robots’ reactions in different situations.  The rationale for this study is that by programming the robot, the child will learn about others’ thoughts, reactions and feelings (theory of mind) which is known to be a main deficiency in ASD.