Overview of the Neurology Node

Dr. Rujuta Bhatt Wilson

Mission: The goals of the neurology research node are to develop and test the neurologic and developmental outcomes of motor-based interventions for Autistic individuals, thereby allowing Autistic individuals to demonstrate their full cognitive, behavioral, social, and communicative potential. The node also seeks to better understand co-occurring neurologic conditions such as motor difficulties, epilepsy, and sleep difficulties. In addition, node members will aid in educating healthcare providers and the community about co-occurring neurologic conditions.

Research Agenda: Co-occurring neurologic conditions are common in Autistic individuals. These conditions, such as epilepsy and sleep difficulties, can present across the lifespan and
have a detrimental impact on adaptive function, physical health, and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Organized physical activities such as tennis, dance, and yoga may represent potential interventions that have been suggested to improve motor skills, physical and health outcomes, and behavioral outcomes.

Identified Neurology ANSWER reps will:

Attend Meetings: participation of all AG members is expected for ~17 hrs/year

  1. Two working meetings per year (2 hours each)
  2. One individual meeting per year with node liaison (1 hr)

Activities: Ad hoc requests (up to 12 hours)

Over the course of the grant, members of the AG will participate in node activities based on their interests, availability, knowledge, experience and perspectives.

Members may:

  • Provide their active engagement and input on research priorities
  • Identify opportunities to disseminate research findings, including helping develop a dissemination plan
  • Advise on approaches to enhance the translation of research findings
  • Develop messaging around research findings, ensuring consistency in communications
  • Review drafts of grant proposals
  • Contribute to the development, writing, and/or editing of grant proposals
  • Contribute to the writing, reviewing and editing of node manuscripts. Such contributions will be recognized with co-authorship on the manuscripts

We are looking for individuals with the following experience:

  • Prior graduate-level training, and lived experience as:
    • Autistic/Neurodivergent individual; and/or
    • Caregiver of Autistic individual(s) with high support needs, intellectual disability, and/or genetic neurodevelopmental conditions

Preferred Qualifications for Neurology ANSWER Reps:

  • Applicants must have at least two years of graduate school experience and be currently enrolled in a research-based doctoral program OR have completed their doctoral degree. Postdocs and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • People who have specific expertise in outcome measures and utilizing measures to evaluate participant engagement in programs
  • Experience working with community-based organizations, particularly physical activity programs such as adaptive sports/dance/movement activities
  • Prior experience/knowledge of academic proposal review processes
  • Active CITI training or other research ethics training (e.g., TCPS 2: CORE-2022) and review of introductory materials
  • Background in autism and neurodevelopmental research
  • Willingness to provide constructive feedback
  • Ability to work effectively in a team of researchers with a diversity of opinions
  • Willingness to identify and remove oneself from potential conflicts of interest (in proposal review)