Dr. Peter Szatmari has worked in the field of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for over 30 years. He is Professor and Head, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, where he holds the Chedoke Health Chair in Child Psychiatry. He is Director of the Offord Centre of Child Studies, a research institute supported by McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital. He is a founding member of the Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network (CAIRN) a national network of parents, clinicians, policy makers and scientists dedicated to supporting a research agenda in early intervention in autism. He is currently part of an international collaboration investigating the genetics of autism, a long-term study of autistic pre-schoolers that will try to identify factors that contribute to positive outcomes for these children and a study of infant siblings of children with ASD. He consults regularly to government agencies in Canada, the U.S. and internationally on research and on treatment services for children with ASD. He was co-editor of the journal Evidence Based Mental Health, has published more than 200 journal articles and presentations on autism and is the author of the book “A Mind Apart; Understanding Autism and Asperger Syndrome” published by Guildford Press.
Susan E. Bryson received her PhD in Clinical Psychology at McGill University. She was on faculty in the Departments of Psychology at Dalhousie University, Guelph University and York University, and was an Associate Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children (HSC). She is the Founding Director of the Autism Research Unit at HSC and the Autism Research Centre at the IWK Health Centre. Dr. Bryson is currently serving on the Boards of the Asperger Society of Ontario and the Provincial Autism Centre (Halifax, Nova Scotia), and as advisor to the Board of the Autism Society of Nova Scotia. She has particular interests in the early identification and treatment of autism, attention and emotion in autism, and in the well-being of adolescents and adults with autism. Dr. Bryson is the first recipient of the Joan and Jack Craig Chair in Autism Research, a chair that has been developed through Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre.
Eric Fombonne held appointments at INSERM in France, and at the Institute of Psychiatry-MRC Child Psychiatry Unit (London-UK). He conducted several epidemiological studies of autism and investigations of the links between autism and immunizations. He was involved in developing assessment tools, in family, genetic and outcome studies of autism. He served as a consultant for the National Academy of Sciences, the NIH, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Autism Speaks, the Medical Research Council on research matters related to autism. He published over 250 articles, was Associate Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and is on the editorial board of several scientific journals. Over the years, he has worked closely with several family associations.
Pat Mirenda is a Professor in the Department of Educational & Counseling Psychology and Special Education, and Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration in Autism (CIRCA) at the University of British Columbia. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and teaches courses on augmentative communication, autism, inclusive education, and positive behavior supports. Her most recent book, “Autism spectrum disorders and AAC” was published in 2009; and the fourth edition of “Augmentative and alternative communication: Supporting children and adults and complex communication needs” will be published in 2012. She has published numerous research articles and chapters and presents frequently at international, national, and regional conferences. Her current research examines teachers’ attitudes about inclusive education and strategies for teaching reading comprehension to children with autism.
S. Wendy Roberts is a Developmental Paediatrician at HollandBloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and CoDirector of the Autism Research Unit at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is a Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and adjunct scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute. She has led the first Canadian site of the Autism Treatment Network (ATN) in Toronto, with the goal of improving the quality of evidence-based medical care offered to all individuals with autism and their families. Dr. Roberts’s research interests in Learning Disabilities, ADHD and Autism have been accompanied by an interest in understanding more about the techniques of effective communication: transfer of information from parent to child, teacher to student, and physician to patient as well as the translation of research into practice. Current areas of active research in the grants on which she is a co-investigator and site Principal Investigator include early identification, genetics and intervention trials in Autism.
Isabel Smith is a psychologist trained at Brown University (Master’s in Developmental Psychology) and Dalhousie University (PhD in Clinical Psychology). She has been involved in research on ASD since 1984, when she was captured by the experience of working on an epidemiological study of autism. In addition to Pathways in ASD, she is an investigator on the Canadian Infant Sibling Study and a faculty member of the Autism Research Training (ART) Program. Her recent research examines the effectiveness of Nova Scotia’s early intervention program for young children with ASD. Through her clinical and profesional development work at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, she has promoted the use of evidence-based diagnostic and intervention practices throughout the Maritime provinces.
Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Children’s Mental Health and Violence Prevention at the University of Ottawa in the Faculty of Education and the School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences. She is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University and a core member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies. Dr. Vaillancourt’s research examines the links between aggression and bio-psychosocial functioning and mental health, with a particular focus on bullying.
Joanne’s interest in the communication problems of children with ASD began when she was an undergraduate student in Speech Pathology and Audiology and grew as she went on to graduate school in Communication Disorders at the University of Western Ontario. After working as a clinical and consulting speech-language pathologist in the NWT and in Alberta, Joanne decided to return to school in order to embark on a research career investigating the characteristics and the sources of social communication dysfunction in ASD. Following a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta and a post-doctoral fellowship at UBC, she joined the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the U of A and is currently Associate Dean Research there.
Charlotte Waddell is a child psychiatrist with longstanding interests in health policy and population and public health. After obtaining her basic training at UBC, she worked with Aboriginal communities across BC prior to obtaining her MD then residency and research training at McMaster University. Since returning to BC in 2000, Charlotte’s work has been informed by longstanding research-policy partnerships aimed at improving children’s mental health outcomes in the population. Her research focuses on reducing mental health disparities, starting in childhood, by improving the links between research and policy. She also continues to work with children who are involved with the child welfare and youth justice systems. These children inspire and inform her research and teaching.
Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum completed his pediatric training at Queen’s University, and his clinical fellowship in developmental pediatrics at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He completed a research fellowship and Masters degree in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. Dr. Zwaigenbaum’s research focuses on early behavioral and biological markers, and early developmental trajectories in children with autism and related disorders. He currently holds an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Health Research (AHFMR) Health Scholar and the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Autism Research. Dr. Zwaigenbaum is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the U of A, and the co-director of the Autism Research Centre based at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.