Kimberly Carpenter
Principal Investigator
Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Carpenter's Lab Team group picture

Visit Dr. Carpenter's Lab

Coming Soon!

- Autism HERO Study -

You know your child is SUPER.
We can make them a Research SUPERHERO!

  • We invite autistic kids ages 4-7 yrs. to be a part of the Duke Autism HERO study. Parents, your child could help us learn more about the overlap between autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. What we learn could help us better tailor support for all autistic children in the future.
  • Participants receive an in-person evaluation at the Duke Center for Autism at no cost. In addition, children and their parents or caregivers will have the opportunity to play together, the child will watch some short movies and play fun games with our research team. Parents or caregivers will complete online questionnaires and an interview about their child. Throughout it all, we will be here to answer questions parents or caregivers have along the way.
  • To thank your child for participating and to celebrate the incredible “superpowers” we all know they have, all Duke Autism HERO participants receive an official Duke Research Superhero certificate to take home to show their friends, family, and teachers!
  • Parents are compensated for their time. Only 2-3 in-person visits are needed, plus one parent interview that can be done virtually.

We invite you to partner with us on research that makes the world a better place. Become a real Research Superhero!

- Pro # and Study Details -

Pro#: 00108001

Criteria: Autistic children ages 4-7. Children must have received a diagnosis of autism (ASD). 

Enrollment status: Currently Enrolling

Study Dates: January 1, 2022 – Dec 31, 2025

- Resources for Kids & Parents -

Check out these resources for our Autism HERO Study participants. 

Parents, help your child get ready to visit the Duke Autism Center for the your HERO Study visit with our social story, Going to the Movie Room at Duke - My Superhero Hat. Click on the link to view or download this helpful resource. 

Wondering about how our HERO Study EEG compares to a medical EEG?

Click here to see a quick comparison! 

- FAQs -

Got a question? Check out the HERO Study FAQs below.
(You can also download a PDF of these here.) 

Does my child need to have an autism diagnosis?
Yes. Your child will need to have a diagnosis of ASD ("autism spectrum disorder") to participate in the HERO study. 

Does my child need to have an ADHD diagnosis?

Does my child need to have an anxiety diagnosis?

What is the goal of the HERO study?
We are looking at the overlap between autism, ADHD and anxiety. We hope this study can help us better understand how to support all autistic individuals achieve their greatest potential.

What happens if my child does not meet eligibility criteria from in person evaluation?
If your child no longer qualifies at any point, we will let you know and your participation will end. You are also able to withdraw at any time if you need to. You will be compensated for the time you were in the study.

How long is each study visit?
The length of your visits will depend on how many visits you have. Most virtual visits for parent interviews are less than 2 hours and in-person visits are 2.5-4 hours. We will tailor the number of visits and times to the needs of your child and your family.

Will the EEG hurt my child?
No. The EEG is a painless part of the study that involves a net of sponges dipped in baby shampoo and warm water that is placed on your child's scalp. It may feel damp, but does not cause pain.

What information can I get from the EEG?
Our EEGs are not clinical. This means that we will not be able to report specific information about your individual child, instead we will combine the EEG information from your child with other children in the study to get a better understanding of how their brains respond to pictures and videos as a group. See our HERO EEG FAQs for more information.

When can I enter my child in the HERO study?
The HERO study anticipates enrollment will begin in February 2022. If you are interested, feel free to e-mail us at so we can get you screened for eligibility.

How many visits will there be?
We will work with you to pick the best visit schedule possible for your family. We have options for 2 or 3 in-person visits. There will also be one remote parent interview and we have the ability to do the initial consent portion of the study remotely as well.

What kind of things will we do during the visits?
Your child will play some games and do some activities with our staff and clinicians. Your child will also play with you during some portions. There are video based activities as well as the EEG. Parents will be asked to complete surveys and there will be a parent interview.

Will we be compensated for the time spent?
Yes. We provide compensation through a Duke Clincard. Your child will receive a small toy after each visit and will receive a Super Hero certificate at the end.

What happens if we no longer wish to participate after joining the study?
This is a completely voluntary study. Please communicate at any point when you no longer wish to participate.

If my child has self injurous behaviors, can I still sign them up?
The short answer-Yes. The severity of a child's S.I.Bs will determine if it is feasible for them to participate in the study to completion. We have to take into consideration time restraints and task demands of the study. We will discuss all of this with you and join with you in seeing if you believe your child is able to complete the study.

How will I learn about the findings from the study?
All participants will receive updates about new publications concerning studies they have participated in. Check back here on our website to keep up to date as well! 

Who do I contact if I have more questions?
Please email our study team at

Wondering about how our HERO Study EEG compares to a medical EEG? Click here to see a quick comparison!