Brain Scan


Improving lives of people with neurodevelopmental disorders, and that of their families, is the inspiration behind the new Michigan State University Center, C-RAIND.

C-RAIND is the Center for Research in Autism, Intellectual and other Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, and has been made possible by the sustained support of the Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and the deans of the eleven participating colleges.

Ian Gray, one of C-RAIND’s founders and former vice president for Research and Graduate Studies says, “C-RAIND’s mission was born from the needs of the individuals themselves, their families and service providers, and by listening to the people on the front lines who are dealing with the issues we research every day. By getting people in the same room with our researchers, by listening and hearing what each other has to say, hearing the personal experiences, that gives our researchers the passion to solve these problems, they are responding to a cry for help.”

The center’s research focuses on providing tangible, real world benefits to people with NDD’s within the framework of its core values:

·        Respecting human dignity

·        Engaging with community stakeholders in all our efforts including individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, their family members, service providers, administrators and policy makers

·        Including diverse populations and emphasizing natural social contexts in research activities

·        Creating a scholarly environment that embraces multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving

·        Using the best available evidence to guide research, training and practice

“What makes C-RAIND visionary is its approach to interdisciplinary research and embracing the lifespan,” says Michael Leahy, co-founder and co-director of C-RAIND. “Covering everything from early prevention and epidemiology, applied behavioral analysis therapy for preschoolers, transitioning from school to work, all the way to services for adults; it is lifespan development by design. There is an extraordinary need for research to develop new programs and new interventions, and we are determined to meet those needs. Another thing that sets our Center apart is conducting research in the natural environment; we are going right out into the communities where we belong.”

Nigel Paneth, C-RAIND co-director adds, “C-RAIND’s researchers are from 11 different colleges covering a multitude of disciplines, which gives us the advantage of nearly limitless perspectives to problem solving. C-RAIND promotes research that transcends traditional boundaries, producing research that is broader and more nuanced than the more traditional approach that can suffer from a narrowness of perspective. This is the future of complex problem-solving, not only in research but also in teaching and training the next generation of researchers”.

C-RAIND brings people together – from across colleges, from the community, nationally, and internationally.

C-RAIND supports research – genomics, development (prenatal, post-natal), epidemiology, education, assessment, intervention, and life’s transitions.

C-RAIND changes attitudes – promoting positive change in seeing the value of our differences at MSU, in the community (work/employment settings, schools, theatres, museums, places of worship, etc.), and across the globe.

C-RAIND is empowering – promoting participation of those with NDDs and that of their families e.g. Spartan Project SEARCH is a program for young adults with developmental disabilities, providing access to classroom and on-the-job learning at MSU. ASSET, an assistive social skills and employment training program, provides soft skills training to those seeking or wishing to maintain employment and was designed to be incorporated easily into existing school and community based programs.

C-RAIND makes a difference – application, making research useful, translating science into practice.

“The sole focus of C-RAIND is to make people’s lives better as rapidly as possible,” said MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt. “To get the best outcomes for people, you need the best knowledge and the best research. C-RAIND moves us forward on all of those fronts.”