Current Participants


Welcome to the Purdue Canines for Autism REsearch Study! This website contains important information about the study, including how to reach us if you have questions or concerns.

I received an informational packet in the mail. What are the next steps? 

We have received your contact information from Canine Companions for Independence and we will call you soon with more information! If you would like to contact us instead, please call (765) 494-0004 or contact us at

I have not received a packet in the mail. Am I still eligible?

Yes! If your family has received a skilled companion OR your child is a part of the Canine Companions waitlist, you are eligible to participate. Please call (765) 494-0004 to speak with one of our team members.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the purpose of the study?

We want to collect data regarding service dogs as an intervention option for children with autism, as well as the effects on the child’s caregiver and family.

Who can participate in the study?

Families of children diagnosed with ASD ages 4-17 who have received a skilled companion from Canine Companions for Independence, or who are on the waitlist, are eligible to participate.

What will I/my child do if we choose to be in the study?


  • You will complete one online survey regarding your child’s symptoms, treatments, and overall wellbeing, as well as your own experiences.
  • You will also be asked to collect your child’s saliva on 3 separate mornings.
Child with ASD:
  • Go about their everyday routines!
  • They will be asked to collect saliva on 3 separate mornings.

How long will I be in the study?

The survey will take 30-60 minutes to complete and saliva will be collected on three separate days.

Does my breed of service dog matter?

Your breed of service dog does not matter. Because we work in partnership with Canine Companions for Independence, any dog gifted through the program qualifies for the study.

Am I required to participate?

Your participation in each study activity is completely voluntary.

Can I withdraw from the study at any time?

You can withdraw from the study at any time without penalty. You will receive compensation for the activities you successfully completed.<

Risks & Benefits

How will my child and my family benefit from this study?

There may be no direct benefits to caregivers or children participating in this study. However, your participation may directly benefit the ASD community. We hope to understand the complementary relationship of service dogs and children with ASD.

Will the study cost me anything?

This study will not require any out-of-pocket costs. We will pay for your FedEx shipping costs.

What are the risks of participating?

There are a minimal amount of risks in this study. Some potential risks could be distress of caregivers answering questions and/or distress of your child while taking the saliva samples.

How will this study affect my child’s emotional wellbeing?

During the saliva collection process, your child may experience some distress. Your child may have an aversion to the taste or texture of the swab or the sensory experience of having the swab in their mouth. These forms of distress are not considered to be physically harmful, but can easily be addressed by discontinuing saliva collection.

Who ensures the safety of the study?

The Purdue University Institutional Review Board (IRB) has reviewed this study.

If you have questions about your rights while taking part in the study, or have concerns about the treatment of research participants, please call the Human Research Protection Program at (765) 494-5942, email (, or write to:

Human Research Protection Program - Purdue University | Ernest C. Young Hall, Room 1032, 155 S. Grant St | West Lafayette, IN 47907-2114

Saliva Collection | View Saliva Instructions

Why are you testing saliva?

To measure your child’s day-to-day stress levels, we will be assessing a hormone called cortisol in your child’s morning saliva.

How often is saliva collected?

Saliva will be collected on 3 separate mornings. The first sample will be taken upon your child waking up. The next sample will be taken 30 minutes after the original sample was taken.

The saliva will be taken a total of 6 times (2 samples on 3 different days)

When will the 3 days of saliva collection be?

Saliva collection may occur on any day, weekend or weekday. The samples do not need to be collected on consecutive days. You will decide what days best fit your schedule for saliva collection; however, you will be asked to complete all collections in a period of three weeks.

What if I miss a day of saliva collection?

That is okay! As long as you collect saliva samples on 3 separate days within the three-week period, there is no consequence of missing a planned day.

How can I help my child to complete their samples?

We recommend setting up a system of positive reinforcement for saliva sampling. When your child participates in the sampling, he/she will receive a sticker, or another agreed upon reward. 

Survey Instructions

As your child’s primary caregiver, you will be asked to complete an online survey that will take approximately 30-60 minutes. The survey will ask you to answer questions about you and your child’s health and wellbeing.

Caregivers will receive an email from with a link to the online survey. The survey can be completed all at once, or in multiple sittings.

If you cannot find the survey link in your email inbox or spam folder, please contact our team at or (765) 494-0004.


What happens at the end of the study?

You will receive compensation for completing the study activities.

Will we receive our results from the study?

You may receive access to future reports or publications following the conclusion of the study. However, we are unable to give out any personal results.

Contact Information

Who can I contact if I have any questions, comments, or concerns?

You can email our team at or call us at (765) 494-0004 during business hours 8:00 am - 5:00 pm EST.

Purdue Cares

Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, 625 Harrison Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-7607

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