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Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities

Study to Explore Early Development (SEED)

Respond to a SEED invitation letter

If you recently received an invitation letter in the mail, you can respond through the secure online link below. You will need the 4-digit CODE listed in your invitation letter. For other ways to respond, read the entry toward the bottom of this page titled "How do I sign up or learn more if I received an invitation?"

Respond Now

The Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities is proud to be one of six U.S. sites for the Study to Explore Early Development, a research project funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more about autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays. In Maryland, SEED is conducted in collaboration with Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

Two prior phases of SEED have recruited Maryland families, starting in 2008. We are enrolling for a third phase, called SEED 3. You may enroll in SEED 3 only if you have received an invitation letter mailed to your home. Our center would like to thank the 1,100 families who generously volunteered for SEED I and II. We also would like to thank our partners in the study: the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Maryland State Department of Education, all of whom have made SEED successful!


SEED field team Michelle Landrum Jamie Dahm Nicole Williams Shenika Robinson Lydia Stewart SEED staff include Michelle Landrum (from left), Project Supervisor Jamie Dahm, Nicole Williams, Shenika Robinson and Lydia Stewart. Not pictured is Chelsey Puzzanghero. 




What is SEED?

SEED stands for the Study to Explore Early Development. SEED is a multi-state research study with the goals of learning:

  • Possible risk factors for developmental delays
  • Possible risk factors for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • What are the common traits among children with ASD
  • What health conditions occur in children with ASD and developmental delays
  • How genes and the environment affect child development.

For SEED 3, centers from six states are taking part in the study: Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Maryland SEED is being done by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.


Who can be part of SEED?

Parents and their preschoolers will be invited by mail to take part.  Families are being invited through researchers' partnerships with the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the Maryland State Department of Education, and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Many different children will be eligible:

  • Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Children with other developmental disabilities
  • Children without developmental disabilities

In Maryland, SEED will include children who:

  • Were born an live in 9 Maryland jurisdictions: Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Montgomery or Prince George's.
  • Are between 2 and 5 years old and born between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017.

We hope that all invited families will considering taking part so we can learn more about differences in child development. Your participation will help us look for genes and other factors that might be related to autism and developmental delays.

What will your family gain from taking part in SEED?

SEED is one of the largest national studies about autism and developmental disabilities. Whether a child is typically developing or has a special need, the information SEED families provide is very important for research. In addition: 

  • All participating families will receive newsletters about child development and SEED's progress.
  • Some families will be asked to do additional steps, which will include a free developmental evaluation by Kennedy Krieger Institute researchers. Parents will receive a summary of their child's results.
  • All participating families are compensated for their time.

What will SEED families be asked to do?

SEED has several steps, which will be scheduled at your convenience.

  • A 30-minute phone interview about your child's development.
  • A second phone interview about your pregnancy and the health of you and your child.
  • Questionnaires about your child's development and your family's health.
  • For some families: A visit to Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore, to evaluate your child's development. The visit involves play-based assessments.
  • For some families: Simple measurements of you and your child, such as height and head size.
  • For some families: Saliva or small blood samples from you and your child.

All steps in SEED are completely voluntary. Families are encouraged to do as much as they can.

How do I sign up or learn more if I received an invitation?

There are several ways you can respond to ask questions, see if your family is eligible, or opt out of future mailings.


  • For fastest response, click the button on the upper right side of this web page. Enter the CODE listed in your invitation letter and your contact information.
  • Text 410-303-3112 with the CODE listed in your invitation letter, your child's full name and date of birth, and 'Interested' or 'Not interested.'  A research team member will contact you or take you off the mailing list.
  • Complete the paper response card in the mailed invitation and send it back in the postage-paid envelope.
  • Email with the CODE listed in your invitation letter and your child's full name and date of birth. Please note that e-mail communication is not encrypted by default. Your use of e-mail constitutes your acknowledgment of these confidentiality and security limitations. 


If you have questions, please call 1-877-868-8014.

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