May Institute

May Institute and the Center for Autism Research Excellence at Boston University Partner on Study to Help Fill Critical Gap in Research and Treatment


Randolph, Mass. — May Institute, a national network of programs and services for children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other special needs, has partnered with the Center for Autism Research Excellence (CARE) at Boston University (BU) on an exciting new research study called “AppLES,” (Apps for Language Enhancement Study).

The study is being conducted by prominent researcher Dr. Helen Tager-Flusberg and her research team at BU, and supported by neuropsychologist Dr. Beth A. Jerskey of May Institute. It explores how mobile apps for tablets may enhance language and communication in minimally verbal children and adolescents with autism, and possibly lead to better ways of measuring language use in all individuals with autism.

The study is currently open and families of children with autism are invited to be part of this important work.

The study is expected to run for approximately 15 weeks, the total time from enrollment to completion. At its conclusion, families will receive a Kindle Fire tablet, a one-year subscription to ABC Mouse, toys, and a gift card in appreciation for their willingness to participate in this important research.

“We are very excited to be partnering with May Institute on this project to evaluate the effects that educational apps have on spoken language, and to develop language outcome measures that will be made available for future interventions research on autism,” said Dr. Helen Tager-Flusberg, Director of CARE at BU, “Given the shortage of measures available to assess spoken language in children with ASD who vary widely in age and language level, this project fills a critical need in the field. We see this as a wonderful opportunity for CARE at BU and May Institute to work together to improve treatments for ASD.”

Requirements for participants:

  • Confirmed diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder

  • Aged 5-20 years old

  • English is the primary language spoken at home

  • Can safely work with an electronic tablet

Where and When?

  • Pre-intervention behavior assessments will be conducted in the home

  • Intervention will be conducted in the home by parents for approximately 15-30 minutes a day, three times a week

  • Post-intervention behavior assessment will be conducted in the home

“This study aligns with May Institute's commitment to evidence-based assessment and practice, and to disseminating research that directly benefits the individuals we serve,” said Dr. Beth A. Jerskey, Vice President, Professional Training and Research and Director of Clinical Training at May Institute. “Our collaboration with CARE at BU allows us to combine our resources to advance an area of the field that is vitally important to our community. We look forward to continuing our partnership with this esteemed research center.”

To sign up for the AppLES study or for more information, please contact the CARES team at Boston University by email, or call 617-358-4941.

About May Institute
May Institute is an award-winning nonprofit organization with more than 60 years of experience in serving children and adults with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, brain injury and neurobehavioral disorders, and behavioral health needs. The organization provides educational, rehabilitative, and behavioral healthcare services to individuals, as well as training and consultation services to professionals, organizations, and public school systems. At more than 140 service locations across the country, highly trained staff work to create new and more effective ways to meet the special needs of individuals and families across the lifespan. For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit
About the Center for Autism Research Excellence (CARE)
Our primary mission is to advance scientific knowledge about the language and social communication impairments in autism/ASD and related disorders. We carry out studies on all ages using behavioral, brain, and cognitive measures. The goal is to understand the range of abilities, the developmental patterns, and the brain systems that may explain why people with autism have difficulties communicating with spoken language. Our research is aimed at developing new interventions that directly address the communication problems that we discover. For more information, call 617-358-5910 or visit