Grant Proposal

Hi everyone!

Taking a break from running participants, I have gotten the opportunity to get a look into the process of writing a proposal in order to achieve a research grant. We are in the process of getting a grant for a new study including a visual search task and a flanker task. There is a lot that goes into submitting a grant that I had no idea! Steps include things such as getting IRB approval, approval from both a department chair and research professor, budget information, and then finally a detailed project description.

The grant I proposed consisted of a new study we want to run which takes an interesting perspective on autism research. We are moving away from the normal “autistic individuals vs. neurotypicals” kind of studies and are actually exploring those with varying levels of autistic functioning.  We will be recruiting autistic individuals through the EVMS Autism Spectrum Clinic and they will undergo a intervention composed of six online training modules focused on strengthening their executive functioning and facial emotional processing skills. Specifically, they will be administered a flanker task – a program where they will identify the direction that a centrally located target arrow is pointing and identify whether or not other arrows are facing the same or opposite direction. In another version of the task instead of arrows we will be using emotional facial expressions. After these training sessions we will explore their results of training to an undiagnosed sample of individuals that score at least two standard deviations on the AQ (autism quotient). This sample will be recruited from the William & Mary student population.

I think this study will be a novel approach to autism research as it is one of the first studies to examine difference in emotional and cognitive processing between individuals with varying levels of autistic behaviors. This kind of study could really help identify challenges students face and eventually help implement programs that be used in large scale educational systems. I am hoping the proposal gets approved and we are able to get the grant money in order to start running this study!

It is surprising how fast the time goes over the summer! I am grateful for all that I have learned and the opportunity I have to work in such a professional and innovative setting. I feel like I am overcoming any insecurity and making a real difference in contributing to future autism literature. Thank you for reading and I will be posting again soon!