Study to Explore Early Development (SEED)
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.
Three prior phases of SEED have recruited Maryland families, starting in 2008, by invitation. Our center would like to thank the 2,000 families who generously volunteered for SEED I, II and III. 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!
Learn about one mother's experience with SEED in the above video.
SEED II field staff included Michelle Landrum (from left), Project Supervisor Jamie Dahm, Nicole Williams, Shenika Robinson and Lydia Stewart.
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 took part in the study: Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. Maryland SEED was conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Who was invited to be part of SEED?
Parents and their preschoolers were invited by mail to take part. Families were 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 were eligible:
- Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Children with other developmental disabilities
- Children without developmental disabilities
In Maryland, SEED included children who:
- Were born and lived in 9 Maryland jurisdictions: Baltimore City and the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Harford, Howard, Montgomery or Prince George's.
- Were between 2 and 5 years old and had been born between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2017.
What were SEED families asked to do?
SEED had several steps:
- A 30-minute phone interview about the child's development.
- A second phone interview with the mother about pregnancy and the health of her and her child.
- Questionnaires about the child's development and the family's health.
- For some families: A visit to Kennedy Krieger Institute's Center for autism and Related Disorders in Baltimore, to evaluate the child's development. The visit involved play-based assessments.
- For some families: Simple measurements of the mother and child, such as height and head size.
- For some families: Saliva or small blood samples from the mother and child.
Read newsletters from SEED
About SEED Teen
SEED Teen is funded by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This newest research study will collect updated health and development information about prior SEED children and their families. What we learn from this research may lead to better services and treatments for families and their teenagers with autism and other developmental delays. The study will also help us understand similarities and differences between teens with autism and teens without autism.
SEED Teen is a collaboration between CDC and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with assistance from Johns Hopkins and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and includes families from four SEED sites located in Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
1. To better understand how children with and without autism spectrum disorder develop as they become adolescents.
2. To better understand the healthcare and social service needs of adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.
3. To understand the needs of families caring for adolescents with and without autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.