Meghan Swanson

Meghan Swanson

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Uses multi-modal methods to investigate how infants with and without autism develop language and social communication skills

GR 4.802C
The Infant Neurodevelopment & Language Research Lab (The Baby Brain Lab)
Baby Brain Lab Facebook
Curriculum Vitae

Not currently accepting undergraduate or graduate students

Tags: autism children infant language development Brain Imaging center for children and families caregiver speech Psychology-Faculty CCF-Faculty

Professional Preparation

Postdoc - Developmental Disabilities
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill - 2018
PhD - Behavioral Neuroscience
City University of New York - 2012

Research Areas

The Baby Brain Lab is part of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas.  Investigators in the lab are infinitely curious about the infant brain. We want to understand how the infant brain develops and what influences very early development. We believe that by understanding these relationships we can support parents by providing them with effective tools that foster child development. The Baby Brain Lab is directed by Meghan Swanson, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences.


Variability in Responding to Joint Attention Cues in the First Year is Associated With Autism Outcome 2022 - Journal Article
Infant vocalizing and phenotypic outcomes in autism: Evidence from the first 2 years 2022 - Journal Article
White matter as a monitoring biomarker for neurodevelopmental disorder intervention studies 2019 - Journal Article
Early language exposure supports later language skills in infants with and without autism 2019 - Journal Article
Naturalistic Language Recordings Reveal “Hypervocal” Infants at High Familial Risk for Autism 2018 - Journal Article
Walking, Gross Motor Development, and Brain Functional Connectivity in Infants and Toddlers 2018 - Journal Article
Language delay aggregates in toddler siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder. 2018 - Journal Article
Development of White Matter Circuitry in Infants With Fragile X Syndrome 2018 - Journal Article


Caregiver Speech and Infant Brain Development Study
The Baby Brain Lab is currently conducting a NIH-funded study on caregiver speech and infant brain development. We are interested in how parents and their infants communicate, and how this communication supports infant brain and cognitive development. For this study we are recruiting families of typically developing infants from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex area to join the longitudinal study. Families will complete home language samples, and infants will participate in lab assessments and MRI brain scans.
The Infant Brain Imaging Study
The Infant Brain Imaging Study (IBIS) is a multi-site longitudinal prospective study of infants at high and low familial risk for autism that is led by Joseph Piven at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. IBIS has been funded with a NIH Autism Network for Excellence grant since 2007 (PI Piven R01HD055741). The IBIS Network includes five clinical data collection sites (UNC, CHOP, UW, Wash U, and UMN), a data coordinating center at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and investigators at many other universities.

To date, nearly 1,000 infants have participated in the study, including  both infants with an older sibling with autism spectrum disorder (high-risk infants) and infants with a typically developing older sibling (low-risk infants). About 20% of high-risk infants go on to have ASD themselves, meaning this project allows for the study of autism in the first years of life, before a diagnosis is available. All infants in the study participate in serial MRI brain scans and comprehensive behavioral, cognitive, and clinical assessments.  The IBIS Network is currently conducting IBIS-School Age, a study where all of our previous infant participants will come back for a school-age visit (PI Piven R01HD055741). The network was also recently funded to do another infant study (co-PIs Pruett & Piven, 1R01MH118362). For more information on the IBIS Study, information on participating in studies, and information on projects with infants and children with Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome go to

News Articles

Language Learners
Autism study stresses importance of communicating with infants
Early exposure to speech may shape autistic children’s language ability
Fragile X imaging study reveals differences in infant brains
NIMH Director’s Message on Autism Awareness Month