Research Briefs: Current Research Studies

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Does Your Child Try to Hurt Him or Herself?

Some children bang their heads, hit themselves, pull their hair, or do other things that look like they are trying to hurt themselves. Usually these behaviors go away, but they could be a sign of a serious behavior disorder known as self-injury. Kennedy Krieger researchers are conducting a study to learn why these behaviors continue for some children and go away for others. They wish to develop prevention and early intervention programs to limit self-injury. If you are the legal guardian of a child aged five years or younger who engages in behaviors that may look like self-injury, you and your child may be eligible to participate in this study. If you qualify, you and your child will participate in several two-part developmental and behavioral evaluations over a two-year period. In Part 1 of each evaluation, you will be asked to complete questionnaires, and Kennedy Krieger's Departments of Behavioral Psychology and Neuropsychology will conduct interviews and developmental/language questionnaires testing of your child. In Part 2, home observations of your child's behavior with you will be completed. Each child will receive free developmental and language testing and a toy, and parents will receive $35 compensation for each two-part evaluation. For more information, contact Michelle Chin, M.S. at 443-923-2892 or via email at

APPROVED · Mar 17, 2005 · JHM IRB

Is Your Child Afraid of Medical Procedures?

Painful procedures such as injections aren't fun for anyone, but they can be especially tough on kids. Researchers at Kennedy Krieger Institute are working to make medical tests and procedures less traumatic for children and their caregivers. They are enrolling in an NIH-funded study children ages 2 to 10 years with health conditions requiring repeated procedures (injections, other needle procedures, tracheostomy care, respiratory treatments, dressing or nasogastric (NG) tube changes, etc.). Researchers seek to learn what makes some children more distressed than others with the same or similar procedures and to develop techniques to make administering care easier. Children and parents who participate will be observed and videotaped during one procedure (or up to three if you agree) conducted in the Pediatric Psychology Program at Kennedy Krieger, the Pediatric Psychology Lab., University of Maryland Baltimore County, your home or your doctor's office. Whether your child has a lot, a little or no distress for procedures, your participation is invited. Parents will receive information and behavioral training that may help lower children's anxiety and improve cooperation. There are no direct medical benefits or significant risks from participation. Each observation session will last 30 to 60 minutes and will be free of charge. Children will receive a prize of $5 value and the family will receive $100 cash at the end of each session. For more information, please call Natalie Vona-Messersmith, at (443) 923-2983 or email

APPROVED · Mar 10, 2005 · JHM IRB

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