POSTER SESSIONS

Alphabetical by first name of first author

Anam Haji

  1. Title – ‘What’s that sound?’ Graduated Exposure to Increase Tolerance for Non-Preferred Sounds
  2. Bio – Anam Haji (M.A.) is an Autism Consultant at Kerry’s Place Autism Services. Anam provides direct behavioural services to children with ASD and their families in the York and Simcoe regions in Ontario. Anam has been in the field of behaviour analysis since 2010 and is highly motivated to support individuals with Autism and help them integrate as full and equal members in their communities.
  3. Summary – 5-year old-male with ASD was referred to Applied Behaviour Analysis Services to address lack of tolerance to non-preferred sounds. Target behaviours included plugging ears, screaming, running and/or turning off the source.  Functional Assessments were conducted indicating a function of social negative reinforcement.  Intervention aimed to increase tolerance to non-preferred sounds using graduated exposure and differential reinforcement.  Visual aids and timer were included.  In-home sessions were conducted weekly for 10 weeks.  Duration at baseline was 10 consecutive seconds with an increase to 60 consecutive seconds during treatment.  Generalization was demonstrated.  Interobserver agreement was collected and parental adherence averaged 94%.

Ariel Cascio, Jonathan Weiss, Eric Racine

  1. Title – Person-Oriented Ethics for Autism Research
  2. Bio – Dr. Ariel Cascio is a postdoctoral researcher at the Neuroethics Research Unit of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal and the Department of Neurology & Neurosurgery at McGill University. Ariel has a Ph.D. in anthropology and studies autism with a focus on social, cultural, and ethical issues.Dr. Jonathan Weiss is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University, a Clinical Psychologist, and holds the Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research.

    Eric Racine, Ph.D., is Director of the Neuroethics Research Unit and Full Research Professor at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, Canada. Inspired by philosophical pragmatism, his research aims to understand and bring to the forefront the experience of ethically problematic situations by patients and stakeholders and then to resolve them collaboratively through deliberative and evidenced-informed processes.

  3. Summary – This poster presents an update on the Person-Oriented Ethics for Autism Research Project. Research is an important component of all the pressing concerns identified during the CASDA cross-Canada stakeholder consultations, perhaps most notably in the areas of early identification and early intervention; and interventions and services to optimize quality of life at all ages. Our project focuses on research ethics for studies involving participants on the autism spectrum. Together with a Task Force of people with autism, family members, advocates, and professionals, we are writing a best practices guide that researchers can use when designing and conducted such studies.

Arwen Caines, Justine Carlin, Tina Normand

  1. Title – Family Quality of Life and Food Exposure
  2. Bio – Arwen Caines completed her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from McMaster University in 2011. She also holds a baccalaureate in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, from the University of Calgary. Since joining Society for Treatment of Autism in 2011 as an Occupational Therapist, she has worked directly with children and families to facilitate the development of functional self help (e.g., dressing, and mealtime skills), leisure and play skills (e.g., gross motor, fine motor, oral motor). Arwen has consulted in the Community Based Options program; the Residential Program; and the collaborative Calgary Board of Education/Society for Treatment of Autism CSSI stabilization classrooms. In addition to consulting, she is currently the Supervisor of the Occupational Therapy department.Justine Carlin completed her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from The University of British Columbia in 2015. She also holds a baccalaureate of science in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph. She has worked at the Society for Treatment of Autism since 2015 as an Occupational Therapist. In her role, Justine has worked directly with children and families to facilitate the development of functional self help (e.g., dressing, and mealtime skills), leisure and play skills (e.g., gross motor, fine motor, oral motor). She has consulted in the Community Based Options program; the Residential Program and the Adult and Adolescent program. She has completed the ‘Feeding Therapy- It’s Not Just About Swallowing’ course in 2017 which addressed how physiology, motor skills and behaviour impact paediatric feeding challenges.

    Tina Normand graduated from University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications in 1993. She has worked at Society for Treatment of Autism (STA) since 2009, where she began as an Early Intervention Therapist. After three years she assumed the role of Occupational Therapist Assistant and has continued in this position for the past 5 years. Tina has worked directly with staff and families within STA’s Community Based Options (Early Intervention) program, Residential Program, Child Development Centre (CDC) and been part of the multidisciplinary team consulting to the Calgary Board of Education for students in two CSSI stabilization classrooms. Tina has also completed the Sequential Oral Sensory Approach to Feeding a program which addresses problematic feeding behaviours in a variety of settings and populations.

  3. Summary – Limited diets, often observed by families in individuals with Autism, may impact family quality of life (fQoL). At Society for Treatment of Autism, in order to increase food repertoire, the Occupational Therapy team offers short term food exposure programming that combines group, individual and family participation/education at the early-intervention center and client’s homes.  Weekly food exposure sessions utilize principles of desensitization, play, developmental level and behaviour management. To promote generalization and on-going learning, homework is assigned for families to complete between sessions. This approach has helped increase client’s food repertoire, teach families ways of introducing new foods, and improve fQoL.

Arwen Caines, Tyler Brown, Carlyle Hartog, Kara Wenzel

  1. Title Collaborative programming for Quality of Life
  2. Bio – Arwen Caines completed her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from McMaster University in 2011. She also holds a baccalaureate in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies, from the University of Calgary. Since joining Society for Treatment of Autism in 2011 as an Occupational Therapist, she has worked directly with children and families to facilitate the development of functional self help (e.g., dressing, and mealtime skills), leisure and play skills (e.g., gross motor, fine motor, oral motor). Arwen has consulted in the Community Based Options program; the Residential Program; and the collaborative Calgary Board of Education/Society for Treatment of Autism CSSI stabilization classrooms. In addition to consulting, she is currently the Supervisor of the Occupational Therapy department.Tyler Brown completed his Educational Assistant Diploma June 2006 with Portage College in Lac La Biche, AB specializing in his School-Age Major. Tyler has his Level 1-Orientation Day Care Qualification Certificate (2005). Tyler started his career in Education working in a Behavior Modified School with students who had complex behavioral needs in Lacombe, AB. Tyler began working for the Action Group in 2007. Tyler has worked in many capacities for the agency (Family Services Program Coordinator, Program Supervisor, Shift Specialist, and currently Behavioral Supports Coordinator). Tyler also continues working front line with both children and adults with developmental disabilities. Tyler has been a part of helping individuals reach their success criteria with their individual Behavior and Developmental goals including complex cases. Tyler’s training consists of Positive Practices in Behavioral Support through The Institute for Applied Behavior Analysis (March 2008), Standard & Group Stepping Stones Triple P (accredited provider in 2013). Lastly, Tyler is qualified to facilitate Positive Behavior Supports Level 1 & Level 2 training to staff with the Action Group using the Alberta Council of Disability Services Curriculum.

    Carlyle Hartog completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Arts with a focus on child and youth work from Millar College in 2004. He then worked seasonally as the Director of a Children and Youth Camp for 10 years. During this time he also worked; delivering training on working with children who have behavioral challenges, running programs as an at risk child and youth mentor, working as a gang member rehabilitation worker, running programs with the Regina Public School system for students with ASD and their families. Since 2015 he has worked for the Action Group. First as a Shift Specialist providing ABA teaching and behavioral management to an individual with ASD, and currently as the Program Supervisor of a Residential Home for an individual with ASD.

    Kara Wenzel completed her Master’s of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology from City University of Seattle in 2011 and is a Registered Psychologist. Kara also has a diploma in Early Childhood Education and Development, a Certificate in Children’s Mental Health, and an Applied Degree in Child Studies. Kara has been employed by Society for Treatment of Autism since 2000. In her position as a Psychologist, she is responsible for: assessment of cognitive, adaptive, and academic functioning; developing and implementing individualized service plans; consultation and training of front line staff and parents; developing and implementing positive behavior support plans based on functional behavioral assessments; consultation to other agencies or in school settings; community education; supervision of Behavioral Consultants; and material creation to target individualized goals. Kara also has experience counselling children and youth with and without ASD who display difficulties with anger management and/or anxiety. Special areas of interest include: effective techniques for addressing anxiety issues and ASD in youth, effectively working with families, and ensuring treatment is in line with functional life outcomes (i.e., improvement in day to day functioning).

  3. Summary – In 2015 Action Group and Society for Treatment of Autism (STA) were approached to work collaboratively to provide intervention and services to an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder who had not been successful in other settings due to his complexity. Action Group has provided residential services, skill development and consistent behavioral expectations; STA provides multidisciplinary clinical expertise through monthly consultations. Through this collaboration, the individual’s quality of life has improved drastically as his behaviors have stabilized allowing him to attend his designated school, engage in pre-vocational, vocational, and community activities, increase independence, and remain at the residence for three years.

Béatrice Balmy, Myriam Rousseau, Jacinthe Bourassa, Suzie McKinnon

  1. Title – Formation parentale en ligne : validité sociale et perception des parents d’enfant autiste.
  2. Bio – Béatrice Balmy est agente de planification, de programmation et de recherche au CIUSSS MCQ. Diplômé en enseignement en adaptation scolaire du Collège E. Saldès, en Martinique et en psychoéducation à l’UQTR, elle travaille principalement auprès de la clientèle ayant un trouble du spectre de l’autisme. Elle contribue à la réalisation des mesures issues du Plan national d’action en TSA du MSSS. Elle collaborer aussi à différents projets de recherche.Myriam Rousseau est chercheuse en établissement pour l’Institut universitaire en DI-TSA rattaché au CIUSSS MCQ. Elle assure la codirection de l’axe 1 (intervention précoce) de l’Institut. Elle est aussi professeure associée au Département de psychoéducation de l’UQTR. Elle possède une grande expérience clinique et de recherche auprès de la clientèle ayant un TSA et leur famille. En général, ses travaux de recherche portent sur l’intervention auprès des personnes ayant un TSA, leur famille et leur réseau social. Plus spécifiquement, elle s’intéresse à l’intervention comportementale intensive, au développement des compétences parentales, aux trajectoires développementales des enfants ayant un TSA et aux pratiques inclusives en intervention précoce. Les méthodes d’évaluation utilisées auprès des enfants ayant un TSA ou une déficience intellectuelle font aussi partie de ses intérêts de recherche. Participant à différents comités provinciaux, elle est étroitement liée au développement des meilleures pratiques auprès des jeunes enfants ayant un TSA au Québec.

    Jacinthe Bourassa est agente de planification, de programmation et de recherche au CIUSSS MCQ. Psychoéducatrice de formation, elle travaille auprès de la clientèle ayant un trouble du spectre de l’autisme depuis plus de 16 ans. Au fil du temps, elle a continué de parfaire ses connaissances en réalisant des études de deuxième cycle en supervision ainsi qu’en gestion. Son parcours professionnel lui a permis de parfaire ses connaissances en lien avec le TSA, dont l’intervention comportementale intensive, le développement des compétences parentales, les trajectoires développementales des enfants ayant un TSA ainsi que les pratiques inclusives en intervention précoce. Elle a contribué au développement de référentiels cliniques en TSA et a collaboré à la réalisation de recherches. Elle a également mis en place une communauté de pratiques et des groupes d’échange sur la pratique. Elle s’intéresse donc aux mécanismes qui permettent de stimuler le développement, l’innovation et l’actualisation de pratiques auprès de la clientèle TSA.

    Suzie McKinnon est chercheuse en établissement dans le cadre d’un partenariat de recherche impliquant un Centre intégré universitaire de santé et services sociaux (CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean) et deux CISSS (Bas-St-Laurent et Côté-Nord). Elle est professeure associée au Département de psychoéducation de l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières et chercheuse à l’Institut universitaire en DI-TSA rattaché au CIUSSS MCQ. Elle s’intéresse aux pratiques de détection et de dépistage des retards de développement et du TSA. Elle travaille au développement d’interventions s’adressant aux parents et familles d’enfant ayant un TSA (programme de formation aux parents) ou une DI où elle participe à des travaux de recherche visant une meilleure compréhension des facteurs liés à l’adaptation des parents et de leur enfant ayant une DI. Elle poursuit son engagement dans le développement des normes québécoises d’un outil de dépistage des retards de développement pour lequel elle a offert de nombreuses formations à des intervenants en petite enfance

  3. Summary – Les parents ayant un enfant autiste sont confrontés à des situations affectant leur bien-être et leur vie familiale. La nécessité d’intervenir auprès d’eux est connue. Des formations ont été élaborées mais certains obstacles ressortent. Des études proposent un développement novateur, via des versions numériques. Le programme évalué, a été offert en ligne à 15 parents d’enfant autiste âgé de moins de six ans. Cette étude, répondant à un devis mixte, fournit des résultats témoignant de la satisfaction générale des parents et soutenant la validité sociale du programme. Certains défis et certaines conditions nécessaires à sa mise en place sont relevés.  

Cathleen Edwards, Jennifer Leo, Tara-Joy Knibbe

  1. Title – A Pilot Post-Secondary Employment Preparation Partnership
  2. Bio – Cathleen Edwards is the Program Supervisor for EmploymentWorks. She earned her Master of Arts from Brock University and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Alberta. She has extensive experience working with families experiencing disability.Dr. Jennifer Leo is the Director of Research at Abilities Centre.

    Tara-Joy Knibbe is the Manager of Research and Program Evaluation at Abilities Centre.

  3. Summary – Abilities Centre embarked on a partnership with Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to meet a need in their student population. EmploymentWorks is a 12-week employment preparedness program for young adults (ages 15-29) on the Autism Spectrum focused on soft skills. Participants were recruited through the Access and Supports Centre and Student Accessibility services.  Through the program, participants developed strategies to address issues like disclosure, requesting accommodations, managing anxiety and situations they will encounter as part of their experiential education (field placements, co-op work terms). Participants practiced these skills through work experience with community partners.

Corey Walker

  1. Title – Autism Spectrum Disorder: What Every Teacher Must Know
  2. Bio – Corey Walker is the Northern Regional Coordinator for Autism BC, and the only adult on the Spectrum working for the organization. Diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2001 at the age of 23, Corey has become a powerful presenter and strong self-advocate for children and adults with autism, as well as their families. Corey has helped organized two successful Adult Autism Initiatives in Northern BC (Prince George and Terrace), which brought various stakeholders together to identify service gaps for autistic adults in their community and to develop plans to close those gaps. His presentations have inspired people to never give up, and have shown parents tat their autistic kids can grow up to be successful in life. Corey has a BA in English and History from UNBC, and a Provincial Instructor Diploma from Vancouver Community College. Corey was Co Vice-Chair of the Canadian Autism Partnership Project from 2016-2017.
  3. Summary – Teaching students with autism is challenging to even the best educators. However, through extensive research and my own experiences as an autistic individual in the educational system, I have learned many strategies that educators can use to ensure their autistic student succeeds and thrives. My poster will outline some of these key strategies, including tips on classroom setup, addressing sensory issues, communication and concentration strategies, preparing students for changes and transitions etc. This poster will be based on a popular PowerPoint presentation I have delivered to different groups, all with positive feedback, and is designed for learners of all ages.

Courtney Vibert, Victoria Shute, Tina Gandhi

  1. Title – Positive Adult Development – A Parent Support Group
  2. Bio – Courtney Vibert, M.Ed., BCBA. Parent Education and Quality Assurance Manager, Toronto Autism Services, Surrey Place CentreVictoria Shute, B.A.  Family Support Coach, Toronto Autism Services, Surrey Place Centre

    Tina Gandhi, MSW, RSW, Social Worker, TRE-ADD Program, Surrey Place Centre

  3. Summary – Positive Adult Development (P.A.D.) is a 6 week, evidence-based program aimed at reducing the stress felt by parents and caregivers of individuals with disabilities. It utilizes positive psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy approaches in order to focus on the individual strengths of the parent and teach strategies to change negative thought patterns and improve overall well-being. We will include a description of P.A.D., a rationale for the program, as well as feedback received from parents who participated in groups. We will also highlight pre- and post-assessment outcomes for participants, which indicate that P.A.D. shows promise as a parent support program that can reduce stress levels for participants.

Cristina Cuffaro

  1. Title – Employment outcomes for individuals with Neurodevelopmental Disorders: An archival study
  2. Bio – Cristina Cuffaro, M.A., M.Ed., PhD candidate in School/Applied Child Psychology at McGill University (Under the supervision of Dr. Tara Flanagan, McGill University)
  3. Summary – Although the benefits of being employed are well documented, unemployment and underemployment is a critical issue for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. Obtaining and maintaining employment is especially challenging for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders as they are faced with several barriers.  The aim of this archival study is to identify factors associated with being employed/ unemployed for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. For employed individuals, we explored the issue of hours worked and wages earned as well as the type of on-site support that was received. We also explored a number of factors that have been associated with employees being laid off/fired from their place of employment. The files of 191 graduates of a ‘Transition to Work’ program, a job training and integration program that employs a supported employment model, were consulted. Two logistic regressions were run; one with employment as the outcome variable and one with that examined the factors that contributed to the chances of being laid off or fired. The results showed that individuals with challenging behaviours, those with a moderate intellectual disability, and those who had not received adequate travel training were likely to be unemployed. Those who were receiving one-on-one support in the workplace were more likely to be employed. The majority of the individuals in the study were receiving minimum wage or below and there were no differences found between the number of individuals who were working part time or full time. The factors that were associated with being laid off from their place of employment were being female, and receiving government subsidies. The implications of these findings for research and practice will be discussed.

Dean Svoboda

  1. Title – Community Collaboration, Interest based Specialized Programs and Quality of Life
  2. Bio – Dean Svoboda – Acceptance Superhero Taught on the front lines by people on the spectrum, Social Visionary, Dean Svoboda is an award winning Community Builder.  Early in his journey, he noticed that although kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) most common challenge was the social and recreation world, there were no programs available that made social and recreational development the top priority. Dean saw many kids struggling socially in all facets of their life and although most attended multiple therapies and interventions, very few had open, natural environments in which to put what they were learning in the therapy room into practice.    A simple question was asked, ‘When do our kids with ASD get to be JUST kids?’    In 2004, Dean and small group of parents founded The Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary (AAFS). An organization driven to build relationships, experience, and acceptance. Dean is known as a public speaker, coach, fundraiser, program developer, friendship maker and advocate for those who fall outside what most accept as ‘the norm’.    He has been awarded the Donald Norman Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution to Disability Arts and Culture, is a Recipient of the Beth Drews Scholarship, winner of Social Venture Partners Fast Pitch and was named one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2013.     Dean speaks of his passion throughout the city of Calgary and is recognized across the country as a leading out of the box thinker in the world of Autism and Social Dynamics. He brings integrity, authenticity, optimism, and dedication to whatever he does. He sees far past beyond what the world says is ‘normal’  and sees that each human has what it takes to reach their potential. He is an acceptance superhero, seeking hope for those who feel on the outside and those that struggle to see their best selves.
  3. Summary – Our presentation will demonstrate: – How AAFS Specialized (SP) Model has made significant impact on the Quality of Life (QOL) for hundreds of individuals with Autism.   – How and Why community collaboration is integral for the success of SP and raises positive awareness for ASD  – How others can use our simple model to incorporate SP.   Our SP are topic based programs which run in collaboration with community partners and impact all standard indicators of QOL. Past SP have included Mixed Martial Arts, Fly Fishing, Ball Hockey, Video Game Design, Dungeons and Dragons, Cooking, Parkour, Physical Exercise, Journalism, Moviemaking and more.

Jane Heintz Grove, Elizabeth Macklin, Asha Nair, Cécile Bisson

  1. Title – Building ASD diagnostic capacity in the Champlain Region
  2. Bio – Dr. Elizabeth Macklin, MA MD FRCPC, Developmental Pediatrician, CHEO-OCTC,  Assistant Professor of Pediatrics,  Head, Developmental Pediatrics,  University of Ottawa. Dr. Elizabeth Macklin completed a Master’s degree in Psychology and worked in the fields of autism and learning disabilities prior to training in Pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She studied Developmental Pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children and at Queen’s University in Kingston.  Prior to moving to Ottawa in 2010, Dr, Macklin had been on staff in the Departments of Pediatrics at Queen’s University and the University of Western Ontario and had served as the Medical Director of the childrens’  treatment centres in Kingston and Windsor, Ontario. She now serves as the Medical Director of Medical services at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre and as the Section Head for Developmental Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa. Her interests include the assessment of children with developmental and physical disabilities, medical education and research relating to the use of genetic testing.Dr. Asha Nair, MD FRCPC  Developmental Pediatrician, Consultant Pediatrician  CHEO-OCTC,  Assistant Professor of Pediatrics,  University of Ottawa. Dr. Asha Nair is an Assistant Professor with the University of Ottawa. She currently works as a Consultant Pediatrician and as a Developmental Pediatrician at CHEO and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre. She assesses a variety of children with developmental and complex medical issues through her work in the Neonatal Follow Up, Down Syndrome, General Pediatrics and Child Development Clinics, as well as the Multidisciplinary Feeding Team. She has a special interest in feeding difficulties in these populations.

    Dr. Jane Heintz Grove, Ph.D., C.Psych.  Psychologist,   CHEO-OCTC  Clinical Professor, School of Psychology, University of Ottawa. Dr. Jane Heintz Grove completed a M. A. and Ph.D. at the University of Toronto. As a registered Psychologist she has worked in the fields of autism, intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities throughout her career. She has worked at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (CHEO-OCTC) for over 18 years. Prior to that she worked and/or trained in Toronto at the Hospital for Sick Children, Surrey Place Centre and Thistletown Regional Centre. She served as professional practice leader in psychology at the OCTC for 13 years providing leadership within the clinical team of psychology staff as well as training initiatives.  Dr. Heintz Grove participates eagerly in many new initiatives within the centre being involved in service transformation and change for children and their families. In addition to her work within public funded health care she maintains a small private practice serving children and youth with a broad range of concerns.  Her interests include early assessment of children with developmental difficulties; lifespan concerns with clients with developmental difficulties including ASD, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, self-regulation challenges and genetic differences.

    Cécile Bisson, BSW, RSW  CHEO-OCTC. Cécile Bisson is a registered Social Worker. She began her career as a Child Protection Worker at the Children’s Aid Society to move to a hospital base social worker position at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) assigned to the Neonatal Intensive Care unit and subsequently to the Child Development Service.  For 17 years, she has worked at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) as a Clinical Coordinator overseeing several clinical services and more specifically Diagnostic Services. She has recently moved to an Integration Specialist position in the newly amalgamated CHEO-OCTC.

  3. Summary – In response to the 2016 MCYS call to develop regional diagnostic hubs, CHEO-OCTC worked to develop centres of diagnostic expertise in the community. The poster describes the process of training, mentoring and supporting community pediatricians in the timely diagnosis of ASD. A summary of the process by which a client enters and moves through the stepped diagnostic service is provided. As the program has been in place for just under a year, the poster describes lessons learned in this initial phase of the project. Further development and concerns are also addressed.

Emily Beaudoin, Ingrid Sladeczek, Marc Lanovaz, Katherine Moxness, Nathalie Garcin

  1. Title – Stereotypic Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention Program Outcomes for Children with Autism and Parental Stress
  2. Bio – Emily Beaudoin is an MA2 student in the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University. Her research interests investigate the cognitive deficits of children with learning disabilities and how this plays a role in science education and early intervention outcomes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She completed her BA in psychology (honours) at Carleton University. While at Carleton, Emily worked as a research assistant in the Pickering Centre for Human Development for Dr. Robert Coplan. In addition, Emily completed her undergraduate honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Howard and presented her research at the Psychology Undergraduate Research Event (PURE) at Carleton University. While at McGill, Emily has been involved with the McGill Summer Institute for School Psychology conference as a Sponsorship Committee member (2017) and Internal Representative (2018) in addition to Education Graduate Students’ Society (EGSS) conference as a Peer-Review Committee member (2017) and the Communications Coordinator (2018). Emily is the recipient of the 2017-2018 Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship-Master’s (CGS M) from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC; $17, 500). Recent Peer Reviewed Publications  Asghar, A., Sladeczek, I. E., Beaudoin, E., & Mercier, J. (2017). Learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: Supporting Students with Learning Disabilities. Canadian Psychology, 58(3), 238.     Recent Peer Reviewed Poster Presentations  Beaudoin, E., Ashgar, A., & Sladeczek, I. (2017, March). Exploring the challenges in science education for children with learning disabilities. Poster session presentation at the 16th Annual Education Graduate Students’ Society conference, Montreal, QC.Dr. Ingrid Sladeczek  has several areas of inquiry that broadly fall underneath an umbrella of Intervening with Vulnerable Populations (more specifically, developing, conducting, and evaluating interventions) for families and infants, children, youth, and young adults that are vulnerable for a myriad number of reasons, including developmental disabilities/delays (DD), parental stressors, parental psychopathology, parental functioning,  processes of care, radicalization, learning disabilities, and behaviour disorders. The interventions and evaluations thereof are examined in light of Canadian policy and worldwide shifts in service delivery systems.  Her research program on early intervention, in particular, focuses upon (a) longitudinal analyses of family and child functioning while participating in diverse forms of service delivery (e.g., school-based services, intensive and comprehensive services delivered via not-for-profit organizations, public rehabilitation centers); (b) understanding and investigating early intervention services across Canada; and (c) engaging policy makers in moving forward an agenda that promotes a consensus with respect to policies that affect families and children with DD.  Beyond her focus on families who have children with developmental disabilities/delays, and looking at families and children with an autism spectrum disorder, more specifically, her research endeavours range from — promoting literacy development in infants to radicalization of youth, to how we can support youth with learning disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, to investigating affective computing. Her program of research has been funded by several agencies including; the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council, the Max Bell Foundation, the Office of Disability Issues, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Miriam Home Foundation , the Spencer Foundation, Brain Canada, the Guzzo Foundation, Bell Canada, and rehabilitation centers in Quebec. Scholarly/Supervision Interests include Early Intervention for Families and Children with Autism, Intellectual Disabilities, and Vulnerable Populations, Consultation, STEM and Learning Disabilities, Expressive Writing & Youth, the creation of Affective Computing Environments as Adjunct to Traditional Therapies for Children with Disabilities/Delays.

    Marc is an Associate Professor in the École de Psychoéducation of the Université de Montréal and a Researcher at the Ste-Justine University Research Hospital. He was the founding president of the Québec Association for Behavior Analysis. He is a licensed teacher and psychoeducator in his home province as well as a certified behaviour analyst. He holds an MSc in Applied Behavior Analysis from St. Cloud State University and PhD in Educational Psychology from McGill University.    His research program focuses on improving service delivery to children, adolescents, adults, and families affected by autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. His projects have been funded by many major granting agencies in Canada such as the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Québec’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec

    Ms. Katherine Moxness has a doctorate in psychology. She was appointed Executive Director of the West Montreal Readaptation Centre (WMRC) in 2013. Over the years, she has also held positions as director of professional services and of quality in rehabilitation centres. She has published many papers on pervasive developmental disorder, intellectual disability and autism spectrum disorder.

    Nathalie Garcin is a clinical psychologist specialising in neurodevelopmental disabilities (autism and developmental disabilities).

  3. Summary – A feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is stereotypic behaviours, a specific repetitive behaviour. These behaviours can cause stress in parents. An Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (EIBI) program was implemented for children with ASD. This study aims to understand the effects of stereotypic behaviour on parental stress after EIBI therapy. A sample of children (N=16) with ASD who were receiving either EIBI from early intervention centres in Montreal. Data was collected on seven different types of stereotypy and parental stress was assessed via self-report questionnaires. Results will be discussed in relation to the future development of EIBI.

Emmanuela Tedone

  1. Title – Advancing teaching and clinical practices for children with visual challenges and autism spectrum disorder
  2. Bio – Emmanuela Tedone has a keen interest in researching and learning the best practices for children with autism. She completed her M.Ed in Educational Psychology at McGill University, and has worked as a behaviour therapist for eight years. Currently, she provides educational and clinical services to support children with an ASD as well as visual challenges at two schools in Montreal.
  3. Summary – Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often rely on their visual sense to understand and relate to their surroundings (Notbohm, 2012). When children with an ASD present with a visual challenge, it is suggested that current teaching and clinical approaches be adapted and revised to meet the children’s needs (Verdier et al., 2017). Such practices include the use of tactile symbols (Aasen & Naerland, 2014a), tactile schedules (Aasen & Naerland, 2014b), and song in storytelling (Thompson & Abel, 2018). These aforementioned practices help foster children’s agency, speech and language skills, and social-emotional development (Aasen & Naerland, 2014a, 2014b; Notbohm, 2012; Thompson & Abel, 2018).

Gerald Bernicky, Mary Ierullo, Christina Menel, Michelle Murphy, Elizabeth St. Pierre-Palu, Kate Wiley

  1. Title – Preparing Students with ASD for Transitions: Planning to Succeed
  2. Bio – Mary Ierullo, ASD Consultant, Surrey Place Centre, School Support Program
    Christina Menel, ASD Consultant, Surrey Place Centre, School Support Program
    Michelle Murphy, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Transition Team
    Elizabeth St.Pierre-Palu, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Transition Team
    Kate Wiley, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Transition TeamThe Transition Team at Toronto Catholic District School Board consists of ASD Consultants from School Support Program (Surrey Place Centre) and Autism Support Teachers, Secondary School.  The team meets monthly to plan how to best meet the needs of students transitioning to various pathways.
  3. Summary – The Toronto Catholic District School Board and Surrey Place Centre have been working collaboratively since 2005 in the area of transitions for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. One key area of this work has been the development, implementation and support of transitions for students with ASD entering Secondary School, as well as for exiting Secondary School and entering one of three transitional pathways (College/University, Employment or Adult Services).  This poster will showcase the resources, strategies and practices that have been developed and implemented to support students in planning, preparing for and achieving success.

Jacinthe Bourassa, Myriam Rousseau, Suzie McKinnon

  1. Title – Évaluation des effets d’un programme de formation de groupe destiné aux parents d’enfant ayant un TSA
  2. Bio – Jacinthe Bourassa est agente de planification, de programmation et de recherche au CIUSSS MCQ. Psychoéducatrice de formation, elle travaille auprès de la clientèle ayant un trouble du spectre de l’autisme depuis plus de 16 ans. Au fil du temps, elle a continué de parfaire ses connaissances en réalisant des études de deuxième cycle en supervision ainsi qu’en gestion. Son parcours professionnel lui a permis de parfaire ses connaissances en lien avec le TSA, dont l’intervention comportementale intensive, le développement des compétences parentales, les trajectoires développementales des enfants ayant un TSA ainsi que les pratiques inclusives en intervention précoce. Elle a contribué au développement de référentiels cliniques en TSA et a collaboré à la réalisation de recherches. Elle a également mis en place une communauté de pratiques et des groupes d’échange sur la pratique. Elle s’intéresse donc aux mécanismes qui permettent de stimuler le développement, l’innovation et l’actualisation de pratiques auprès de la clientèle TSA.Myriam Rousseau est chercheuse en établissement pour l’Institut universitaire en DI-TSA rattaché au CIUSSS MCQ. Elle assure la codirection de l’axe 1 (intervention précoce) de l’Institut. Elle est aussi professeure associée au Département de psychoéducation de l’UQTR. Elle possède une grande expérience clinique et de recherche auprès de la clientèle ayant un TSA et leur famille. En général, ses travaux de recherche portent sur l’intervention auprès des personnes ayant un TSA, leur famille et leur réseau social. Plus spécifiquement, elle s’intéresse à l’intervention comportementale intensive, au développement des compétences parentales, aux trajectoires développementales des enfants ayant un TSA et aux pratiques inclusives en intervention précoce. Les méthodes d’évaluation utilisées auprès des enfants ayant un TSA ou une déficience intellectuelle font aussi partie de ses intérêts de recherche. Participant à différents comités provinciaux, elle est étroitement liée au développement des meilleures pratiques auprès des jeunes enfants ayant un TSA au Québec.

    Suzie McKinnon est chercheuse en établissement dans le cadre d’un partenariat de recherche impliquant un Centre intégré universitaire de santé et services sociaux (CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean) et deux CISSS (Bas-St-Laurent et Côté-Nord). Elle est professeure associée au Département de psychoéducation de l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières et chercheuse à l’Institut universitaire en DI-TSA rattaché au CIUSSS MCQ. Elle s’intéresse aux pratiques de détection et de dépistage des retards de développement et du TSA. Elle travaille au développement d’interventions s’adressant aux parents et familles d’enfant ayant un TSA (programme de formation aux parents) ou une DI où elle participe à des travaux de recherche visant une meilleure compréhension des facteurs liés à l’adaptation des parents et de leur enfant ayant une DI. Elle poursuit son engagement dans le développement des normes québécoises d’un outil de dépistage des retards de développement pour lequel elle a offert de nombreuses formations à des intervenants en petite enfance

  3. Summary – Bien que la participation des parents en contexte d’intervention comportementale intensive soit reconnue, peu de programmes disponibles à cet effet ont fait l’objet d’une évaluation. L’étude évalue les effets d’un programme de formation de groupe. Étude à devis mixte, 31 parents d’enfant âgé de moins de huit ans y ont participé. Bien que des gains ont été rapportés par les parents, certains résultats ne permettent pas de conclure à des changements statistiquement significatifs. Des résultats significatifs sont obtenus en ce qui a trait notamment aux comportements adaptatifs des enfants. De plus, les résultats mettent en évidence la satisfaction des parents.

Jalisa Gittens, Laura Fontil, Meghan Keenan, Ingrid Sladeczek

  1. Title – Transition to Kindergarten Services for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Canada
  2. Bio – Jalisa Gittens is a second year Masters student in the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University. She completed her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology and minored in Behavioural Neuroscience and Biology at McGill University. During her Bachelors she worked as a Research Assistant for Dr.Thordardottir with children with language disorders and with Dr.Steinhauer on the neurocognitive development of language. Currently, Jalisa is the vice president of Finance for the School/ Applied Child Psychology Student Association. Her research interests include transition to school, early intervention, consultation, developmental disabilities,bullying and mental health in schools.Laura Fontil is presently a PhD candidate in the School/Applied Child Psychology program at McGill University. She obtained a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Child Studies at Concordia University. Her Master’s thesis explored the experiences of immigrant and Canadian families with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) making the transition to elementary school. Her doctoral research will involve a series of three studies: a) the investigation of transition to school policy for children with ASDs and their families in Canada, b) an investigation of child and family characteristics related to caregiver perceptions of the transition to school for children with ASDs, and c) the implementation and evaluation of a transition to school intervention that emphasizes collaborative partnerships between home and school for children with ASDs and their families. Laura is the recipient of a 2013-2016 Fonds Québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture, Bourse de doctorat en recherche (FQRSC, $20,000/year) and a 2015-2018 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Bombardier CGS Doctoral Research Fellowship (SSHRC, $35 000/year).

    Meghan Keenan is currently undertaking a double major in Psychology and International Development Studies at McGill University. She has volunteered as a Peer Mentor for four years with Best Buddies, working with intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. She is passionate about social justice and education, which she channels through her involvement in Model United Nations conferences.

    Dr. Ingrid Sladeczek has several areas of inquiry that broadly fall underneath an umbrella of Intervening with Vulnerable Populations (more specifically, developing, conducting, and evaluating interventions) for families and infants, children, youth, and young adults that are vulnerable for a myriad number of reasons, including developmental disabilities/delays (DD), parental stressors, parental psychopathology, parental functioning,  processes of care, radicalization, learning disabilities, and behaviour disorders. The interventions and evaluations thereof are examined in light of Canadian policy and worldwide shifts in service delivery systems. Her research program on early intervention, in particular, focuses upon (a) longitudinal analyses of family and child functioning while participating in diverse forms of service delivery (e.g., school-based services, intensive and comprehensive services delivered via not-for-profit organizations, public rehabilitation centers); (b) understanding and investigating early intervention services across Canada; and (c) engaging policy makers in moving forward an agenda that promotes a consensus with respect to policies that affect families and children with DD.  Beyond her focus on families who have children with developmental disabilities/delays, and looking at families and children with an autism spectrum disorder, more specifically, Dr.Sladeczek’s research endeavours range from — promoting literacy development in infants to radicalization of youth, to how we can support youth with learning disabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, to investigating affective computing. Her program of research has been funded by several agencies including; the Social Sciences Humanities Research Council, the Max Bell Foundation , the Office of Disability Issues, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Miriam Home Foundation , the Spencer Foundation, Brain Canada, the Guzzo Foundation, Bell Canada, and rehabilitation centers in Quebec.

  3. Summary – The process of transitioning to kindergarten is an important milestone for children and can predict future school success. However, this process can be very challenging for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Providing transition support to children with ASD can ease the entrance to kindergarten. Parental involvement is strongly associated with positive transition outcomes and can aid the process of transition to kindergarten. A survey was conducted via an online questionnaire to program directors of early childhood education programs across Canada and focused upon transition services provided to parents. Implications for practice are discussed.

Jennifer Bodiguel

  1. Title – New Heights Transition to Adulthood Program
  2. Bio – Jennifer Bodiguel is the program coordinator for the Transition to Adulthood branch of New Heights Home and Community Support in Calgary, Alberta. She works with emerging adults on the autism spectrum as they navigate the transition from high school to adulthood. Jennifer has a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy and worked as the OT at New Heights for 8 years before assuming the role of program coordinator.
  3. Summary – Moving from a structured high school environment into independent adulthood is challenging, especially with a neurodevelopmental condition such as autism. New Heights recognizes this challenge and in 2017 began developing the Transition to Adulthood program. This pilot program assists recent and soon-to-be graduates of New Heights in 5 key areas: Employment, Independent Living, Post-Secondary Education, Social Environment, and Self-Advocacy. The interest and enrollment has far exceeded our expectations and indicates that this project is addressing a need. The emerging adults are demonstrating an increase in self determination and willingness to explore new programs and opportunities. Families are expressing feeling more supported and appreciate the additional voice in the lives of their emerging adults.

Jonathan Weiss

  1. Title – Five years of impact: The Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research
  2. Bio – Dr. Jonathan A. Weiss is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University. His research focuses on the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in people with autism or intellectual disabilities across the lifespan. He conducts studies into how people with developmental disabilities access mental health care in Ontario, and is interested in their health service needs, their emergency service use, and their experiences of psychiatric crisis. Dr. Weiss holds the CIHR Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research, as well as operating funds from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
  3. Summary – The Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research is dedicated to studying ways to improve the mental health and well-being of people with ASD and their families in Canada. The research position aimed to work with stakeholders including people with ASD, their families, services providers, and governmental bodies. The poster presentation will provide a summary of accomplishments and activities to date over the course of the 5-year award. It will highlight the 16 projects the Chair initiated and collaborated on, the innovative knowledge translation activities conducted to improve access to mental health-related research, and the capacity building efforts which helped foster the next generation of researchers in the mental-health field.

Katelyn Lowe, Sara Baker, Teunisje Gruber

  1. Title – Launch Online – Transition Planning
  2. Bio – Dr. Katelyn Lowe is the Chief Strategy Officer at The Sinneave Family Foundation. In her role, she works to develop, execute and sustain strategic initiatives across the organization.  Since joining Sinneave in 2008, Katelyn has been involved in the development, delivery and evaluation of a number of key initiatives including the Launch Program, PEERS® and Worktopia.  Lowe is a Registered Psychologist specializing in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders and mental health issues.  She has trained in a wide range of evidence-based interventions such as HeartMath®, Mymind, and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy. Katelyn is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Calgary and is involved in numerous research projects translating new knowledge and technologies in developmental neurosciences into autism programming, clinical training and service delivery.Sara Baker is a Registered Occupational Therapist and the newest member of the Launch team. She is experienced in functional assessment of daily living skills and goal management and is passionate about autism services, having worked in programs offering residential supports, sensory-based programming, and Applied Behavioural Analyses. She has experience in a wide variety of interventions including art-based therapies, anxiety/depression management, and life and vocational skills training.

    Teunisje Gruber is a Registered Occupational Therapist and a Canadian Certified Counsellor.  She has over 20 years of experience working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families.  When meeting with clients, she utilizes a strengths-based approach to help her clients create realistic goals and action plans towards better functioning in their daily life. She also has an understanding of their challenges and how to ameliorate them: for example, developmental delays/disorders, sensory processing disorders, mental health issues, motor skill problems, and cognitive/visual-perceptual difficulties.

  3. Summary – The Launch Program was developed in 2010 to meet transition support and lifespan planning needs for adolescents and young adults with ASD. It evolved from a clinical expert model to a workshop approach. The program promotes capacity building in the individual and the family, and helps families navigate the complex array of community-based supports and services. Several barriers were identified for families that precluded them from being able to participate in ‘in-person’ transition planning sessions (child care, transportation, time, remote locations).  By moving into an on-line content delivery format, geographically relevant information can be provided to a broader audience. An on-line format also provides an opportunity to leverage partnerships with other provinces.     

Melissa Hey

  1. Title – EmploymentWorks Canada Program Coordinator
  2. Bio – Melissa Hey is the Program Coordinator for the EmploymentWorks Canada program in Saskatoon. She has a Masters in Professional Education in the Applied Behavior Analysis stream. Melissa has worked with individuals with varying abilities for the past 10 years. She spent four and a half years as a behavior therapist working with children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis. For the past two years she had been working with adults with ASD and has passion for helping them reach their goals!
  3. Summary – SaskAbilites has partnered with Worktopia and is delivering the EmploymentWorks Canada program. SaskAbilities has been involved with this project since 2016 and has expanded to delivering the program in rural areas. SaskAbilities began offering the program in more rural areas in May 2017. This poster will cover the challenges and benefits of delivering a program in more rural areas. To date the delivery of the program in more rural areas has been very successful and continues to benefit those who may not have had access to specialized services.

Myriam Rousseau, Jacinthe Bourassa, Suzie McKinnon, Marie-Hélène Poulin

  1. Title – Formation parentale individuelle en TSA: effets et satisfaction des parents de jeunes enfants ayant un TSA
  2. Bio – Myriam Rousseau est chercheuse en établissement pour l’Institut universitaire en DI-TSA rattaché au CIUSSS MCQ. Elle assure la codirection de l’axe 1 (intervention précoce) de l’Institut. Elle est aussi professeure associée au Département de psychoéducation de l’UQTR. Elle possède une grande expérience clinique et de recherche auprès de la clientèle ayant un TSA et leur famille. En général, ses travaux de recherche portent sur l’intervention auprès des personnes ayant un TSA, leur famille et leur réseau social. Plus spécifiquement, elle s’intéresse à l’intervention comportementale intensive, au développement des compétences parentales, aux trajectoires développementales des enfants ayant un TSA et aux pratiques inclusives en intervention précoce. Les méthodes d’évaluation utilisées auprès des enfants ayant un TSA ou une déficience intellectuelle font aussi partie de ses intérêts de recherche. Participant à différents comités provinciaux, elle est étroitement liée au développement des meilleures pratiques auprès des jeunes enfants ayant un TSA au QuébecJacinthe Bourassa est agente de planification, de programmation et de recherche au CIUSSS MCQ. Psychoéducatrice de formation, elle travaille auprès de la clientèle ayant un trouble du spectre de l’autisme depuis plus de 16 ans. Au fil du temps, elle a continué de parfaire ses connaissances en réalisant des études de deuxième cycle en supervision ainsi qu’en gestion. Son parcours professionnel lui a permis de parfaire ses connaissances en lien avec le TSA, dont l’intervention comportementale intensive, le développement des compétences parentales, les trajectoires développementales des enfants ayant un TSA ainsi que les pratiques inclusives en intervention précoce. Elle a contribué au développement de référentiels cliniques en TSA et a collaboré à la réalisation de recherches. Elle a également mis en place une communauté de pratiques et des groupes d’échange sur la pratique. Elle s’intéresse donc aux mécanismes qui permettent de stimuler le développement, l’innovation et l’actualisation de pratiques auprès de la clientèle TSA.

    Suzie McKinnon est chercheuse en établissement dans le cadre d’un partenariat de recherche impliquant un Centre intégré universitaire de santé et services sociaux (CIUSSS du Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean) et deux CISSS (Bas-St-Laurent et Côté-Nord). Elle est professeure associée au Département de psychoéducation de l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières et chercheuse à l’Institut universitaire en DI-TSA rattaché au CIUSSS MCQ. Elle s’intéresse aux pratiques de détection et de dépistage des retards de développement et du TSA. Elle travaille au développement d’interventions s’adressant aux parents et familles d’enfant ayant un TSA (programme de formation aux parents) ou une DI où elle participe à des travaux de recherche visant une meilleure compréhension des facteurs liés à l’adaptation des parents et de leur enfant ayant une DI. Elle poursuit son engagement dans le développement des normes québécoises d’un outil de dépistage des retards de développement pour lequel elle a offert de nombreuses formations à des intervenants en petite enfance

    Marie-Hélène Poulin est professeure en psychoéducation au département  des sciences du développement humain et social de l’UQAT. Elle possède une expertise dans l’utilisation des technologies auprès des personnes ayant un TSA sans déficience intellectuelle. Elle enseigne un cours sur le trouble du spectre de l’autisme à l’UQAT et contribue à la sensibilisation de la population par différents moyens comme le développement d’outils accessibles (Parle-moi de TSA !), par des conférences grand public et des articles de revue professionnelle. Elle collabore actuellement à des projets de recherche visant à développer les connaissances de la participation sociale des personnes autistes âgées de 16 à 40 ans ainsi qu’à   la validation de programmes d’intervention avec cette clientèle

  3. Summary – Le trouble du spectre de l’autisme (TSA) affecte non seulement la personne qui en est atteinte, mais également l’ensemble de sa famille. L’importance de l’implication des parents dans l’intervention est reconnue. Peu de formation développée pour ces parents et administré spécifiquement dans le milieu familial ont fait l’objet d’une évaluation et sont disponibles. L’étude, à devis mixte, vise à documenter les effets sur la détresse et le bien-être psychologique, les conflits parentaux, les compétences éducatives et les connaissances en TSA chez les parents suite à une formation individuelle. La collecte de données a été réalisée auprès des 18 parents.   

Seiun Thomas Henderson, Michelle Dawson, Ann Crabtree

  1. Title – Lifelong Learning in Autism
  2. Bio – Seiun Thomas Henderson is the Director General of Giant Steps School. He has over twenty-five years of experience teaching, training and administrating programs directed at young, teen and adult students with disabilities, and specifically autism spectrum disorders. Thomas is an experienced director of community outreach programs and social innovation initiatives supporting and representing the needs of individuals with developmental differences, difficulties or disabilities.. Thomas’ areas of professional interest and expertise include; autism and learning, social and pedagogical innovation, inclusive education, strength-based curriculum development, universal design for learning, educational technology, accessibility in education, supporting self-advocacy and self-determination,  research development, and community partnerships.Michelle Dawson is an autistic researcher affiliated with University of Montreal’s autism research group since 2004. Her interests include learning, intelligence, perception, and cognitive strengths in autism, as well as the science and ethics of autism interventions.

    Ann Crabtree is a Deaf autistic woman that works in education and is dedicated to improving understanding and acceptance of autism in the community.

  3. Summary – This poster presents a study of the life history of an autistic woman’s learning journey in formal and informal learning. It seeks to richly document an older autistic adult’s life history of learning, and to address questions including:    -to what extent can learning in autism, including the achievement of basic milestones, diverge from expected, typical learning trajectories?    -how, when, and where can formal and informal learning occur in autism, from birth to old age?     -to what extent can an autistic person learn independently throughout their life, given the opportunity?

Shelley Booker Salvador

  1. Title – Treatment Strategies for Children with Hearing Loss and ASD
  2. Bio – Shelley Booker Salvador Shelley is a speech-language pathologist with over 15 years of experience specializing in the development of functional social-communication and related skills for individuals with ASD. She works as part of a trans-disciplinary treatment team, providing individualized intervention and consultation to clients ages two through adulthood. Shelley also conducts research related to treatment outcomes for children with ASD, and has presented her results and treatment recommendations at national and international conferences.
  3. Summary – Research estimates the prevalence of ASD in children who have hearing loss to be 1-4% (Szymanski, et al., 2012), with estimates increasing for those with severe to profound hearing loss. However, there is a paucity of information for clinicians and families on effective interventions for children with this dual diagnosis. The complexity of the needs of children with hearing loss and ASD, particularly those related social-communication, requires clinicians to have expertise in both diagnoses. Society for Treatment of Autism provided trans-disciplinary treatment for children with moderate-to-severe hearing loss and ASD and treatment strategies will be shared.

Stephen Gentles, Linda Nguyen, Stelios Georgiades

  1. Title – Understanding caregivers’ readiness for involvement in autism care
  2. Bio – Dr. Stephen Gentles is a Lawson Postdoctoral Fellow at the Offord Centre for Child Studies at McMaster University, working with Dr. Stelios Georgiades. His research involves promoting family perspectives about care, and developing tools that support family needs within ASD clinical services.Linda Nguyen is a doctoral student in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. Her research focuses on the role of siblings of a brother or sister with a disability, including ASD, during transition from pediatric to adult healthcare.

    Dr. Stelios Georgiades is the Co-Director of the McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART), and Co-Founder of the Child Health Specialization in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program at McMaster University. Dr. Georgiades’ research examines issues related to the developmental trajectories as well as the clinical and biological heterogeneity in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly ASD. Dr. Georgiades’ research also explores issues related to inequalities in families affected by ASD.

  3. Summary – ASD service providers across Canada are increasingly involving families (caregivers) in the planning and delivery of intervention and care. However, our understanding of caregivers’ readiness for involvement in autism care-and the factors (facilitators, barriers) that influence this readiness-is rather limited. This is an important issue, especially in cases where there might be a discrepancy between caregiver capacity and system demands. We aim to shed light on this issue by 1) conducting a systematic review of the relevant qualitative literature; and 2) developing an ASD-specific measure of caregivers’ readiness for involvement in care.

Susann Lagore

  1. Title – All Aboard: Public Transportation and ASD
  2. Bio – Susann Lagore is a PhD candidate in the Department of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. She holds a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine degree, a Master of Planning and a Bachelor of Science. She is a 2017 University of Calgary Three Minute Thesis finalist. She is also the mother of a 14 year old son on the autism spectrum.
  3. Summary – Most of us take transportation for granted, having access to various options allowing us to seamlessly navigate the environments in which we live, work and play. For individuals diagnosed with autism however, transportation can present a significant obstacle to employment, inclusion and self-determination. Considering that most individuals on the spectrum do not drive, the use of public transit is, in theory, a compelling option, but access is far from straight forward. This poster highlights PhD research aimed at evaluating the task of taking public transit and the lived experience of parents, as they teach their children to navigate this system.

Tara Connolly, Maureen Barnes

  1. Title – Creating Greater Accessibility to Post Secondary: Outcomes of an Ontario pilot to support transitions into post secondary settings
  2. Bio – Tara Connolly, Coordinator of Transition Support Centre, Algonquin College. Contact Information: Email: connolt1@algonquincollege.com Phone: (613) 727-4723 ext. 5441Maureen Barnes, York University, Director, Student Accessibility Services Contact Information: Email:  Maureen@yorku.ca  Phone: 416-736-2100 x66011
  3. Summary – Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have much to offer their post secondary programs. Yet, post secondary settings have work to do in understanding and meeting the sometimes complex needs of students with ASD. This poster presentation outlines the shared core principles of two pilot programs at an Ontario college and university used to build customized approaches supporting successful transitions for students with ASD.  The presentation describes the format and outcomes of each site, the Core Principles and the application of those principles to promote student success and impact retention in two distinct post secondary settings.

Tess Hemeon, Kendra Lane

  1. Title – Good Roots Gardening: Growing Opportunity
  2. Bio – Tess Hemeon, Manager Community Engagement, Autism Society Newfoundland Labrador
    Kendra Lane, Director of Operations, Autism Society Newfoundland Labrador
  1. Summary – Good Roots Gardening is a social enterprise housed at Autism Society, Newfoundland Labrador (ASNL). ASNL uses its expansive natural setting to capitalize on horticulture to provide transition programming and employment opportunities for individuals on the spectrum. This includes onsite maintenance of 36 community garden beds, greenhouse, vegetable garden, flower garden, berry gardens, orchard that all provide produce to an onsite restaurant, as well as mobile gardening services. The Transitions Program identifies strengths and interests of participants to prepare them for employment, community involvement and improved quality of life beyond high school. After classroom learning, community volunteerism and job shadowing, Good Roots Gardening provides a work experience for participants.

Treena Gower Foster, Keelin McKiernan

  1. Title – After the School Bus Stops Coming: What’s Next?
  2. Bio – Treena Gower Foster completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1997 at the University of Alberta. She has been employed by Society for Treatment of Autism in Calgary since 1998, and has worked with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) ranging from toddlers to the elderly.  While she previously held the positions of Behaviour Therapist in the Residential Program and Behavioural Consultant, she is currently Manager of Adolescent and Adult Services.  Within this position, she is responsible for developing a variety of programs targeting the teenage and adult ASD population.  Her special areas of interest include sexuality, employment expansion and community involvement for individuals on the autism spectrum.Keelin McKiernan, graduated from Mount Royal University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology (Honours). During her degree, Keelin started to work for Society for Treatment of Autism (STA) beginning in June of 2010 as a Summer Program Counselor for the Residential Program. Throughout her 7 ½ years at STA, she has been a in multiple roles including a Residential Staff Trainer, Senior School Therapist and the Employment Re-Entry Coordinator with Ready, Willing and Able.  Currently, she has continued her work with individuals with ASD and employment as the Employment Coordinator for STA. Since starting the employment program with STA, she has enjoyed learning and working with various employers to expand her skill set while working with individuals with autism in an employment and vocational setting.
  3. Summary – It is estimated that there are currently 46, 000 adults with ASD in Alberta. These often complex individuals are widely under-represented in the workforce. Society for Treatment of Autism, with funding through the Calgary Foundation, completed an employment-based pilot project that included 75 individuals aged 16+.  An Individualized Service Plan (ISP) was developed for each person, based on their strengths and barriers to success, outlining an action plan to gain employment.  Focus was given to a three-prong skills training for the individuals, their natural supports including parents, and inclusive employers.

Vivan Lee, Teresa Bennett, Anat Zaidman-Zait

  1. Title – Child and Parental Correlates of Participation in Sports and Recreational Activities in School-aged Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  2. Bio – Dr. Vivian Lee is a postdoctoral fellow at the Offord Centre for Child Studies and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience. Currently, my research program focuses on exploring the barriers, facilitators, and efficacy of sports and recreational activity programs in improving the emotional and behavioural outcomes in children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). First, in collaboration with the Pathways in ASD team (a national multi-site longitudinal inception study), I am learning to use advanced secondary data analyses techniques to describe and quantify the use of sports and recreational programs in a unique cohort of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) across Canada. Second, I am working with the Canucks Autism Network and a team at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (Hamilton) to build capacity (via training workshops) within community-based programs to accommodate children and youth with ASD. I am also evaluating the efficacy of training facilitating the accommodation of participation in children and youth with ASD. Third, with funding through the Brain Canada-Kids Brain Health Network Fellowship, I will have the opportunity to implement a pilot feasibility and acceptability study of the Family Check-up (an evidence-based, ecologically sensitive, targeted prevention and early intervention program that engages families in a process of enhancing parenting practices) as an augmentative intervention for families of children with ASD.Dr. Teresa Bennett is a child and adolescent psychiatrist, clinical trialist and lead investigator for the Canadian ‘Family Check-Up’ (FCU) research program. She is an assistant professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and a lead clinician-scientist at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Child and Youth Mental Health Program. She has extensive clinical expertise in child and adolescent psychiatry and evidence-based child and family intervention. Her research program in translational developmental psychiatry is focused on longitudinal cohort studies, prevention science and clinical trials.  The objectives of this trans-diagnostic program include: unpacking the heterogeneity of developmental health trajectories in children at risk of mental illness and developmental disability; identifying modifiable risk factors; and evaluating developmentally sensitive interventions (e.g., prevention, early or transitional interventions).  She is also the co-director of the McMaster Autism Research Team and core faculty member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies.

    Dr. Anat Zaidman-Zait completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia. She is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of School Counseling and Special Education at the Constantiner School of Education, Tel-Aviv University.  Dr. Zaidman-Zait’s research has focused on parental stress and coping processes among parents of children with disabilities, the interplay between parental stress and children’s development, and applied measurement as it relates to constructs and issues in parenting. In addition, she is interested in the interrelations between parenting, children’s biobehavioral regulation (e.g., temperament, stress reactivity, sleep), and their combined contribution to children’s development and mental health outcomes.

  3. Summary – Participation in sports and recreational programs (SRP) by children is an essential part of healthy development. Benefits to health and quality of life are well-documented. Yet, research consistently indicates that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are less likely than their same-aged peers to engage in community-based SRPs. We will present data from the national, longitudinal Pathways in ASD study to illustrate the outcomes of participation, and different child-level and parent-level predictors of participation. We found that children who consistently participated in SRPs had higher adaptive functioning skills and less behaviours. Parent socioeconomic status also predicted participation. Finding impact will be discussed.

Wendy Mitchell

  1. Title – Worktopia Learnings
  2. Bio – Dr. Wendy Mitchell is the National Program Development Manager for the Worktopia Project that is designed to improve the employment futures of youth and young adults ages 15-29 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as they transition from high school to independent adulthood.
  3. Summary – One of the key aims of Worktopia is to use program learnings gathered from across the country to help develop evidence informed practice, influence policy and support ongoing research for improved outcomes related to employment. WORKTOPIA TIDBITS are one of the tools being used to share learnings and exchange information with those directly engaged in the project, as well as more broadly with participants, families, peers, community partners, employers, professionals, researchers and government.