January 2020    

Welcome to the January edition of  CanChild Today! In this issue, we are excited to feature the latest event and award, share a webinar, and highlight publications by some of our CanChild  members!

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The F-Words: Finding the ability in disability!

Join the talk about the 'F-Words' and how they are shifting the perspectives in  childhood disability!  Built upon the World Health Organization's  (WHO's) International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) framework, the F-Words focuses on six key factors in child development: Function, Family, Fitness, Fun, Friends and Future. This strengths-based approach encourages us to shift our attention to the abilities and potential of children rather than their disabilities.


Dr. Andrea Cross, postdoctoral fellow at CanChild with a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from McMaster University.

Dr. Jan Willem Gorter Director of CanChild and a pediatric rehabilitation medicine specialist at McMaster Children's Hospital.

Dr. Peter Rosenbaum Professor of Pediatrics at McMaster University and co-founder of CanChild.

Julia Ersilia Hanes, a  student research assistant at CanChild, now a third-year medical student in Ottawa, and a Canada Games gold medalist in para-athletics.

Danijela Grahovac & Vasilije, a  Senior Technical Support Analyst at CanChild and a mother of a seventeen-year-old son with cerebral palsy.


André Picard, a Public Health Reporter from The Globe and Mail

Wednesday  |  February 19, 2020  |   6:30 to 7:30 PM
Sheraton Hamilton Hotel,  116 King St W, Hamilton, ON L8P 4V3

CanChild wins the CIHR Video Competition!
We are so excited that our video  about young people with Cerebral Palsy (CP) who communicate non-verbally has won a prize in the annual CIHR IHDCYH Talk video competition! Funded by the Ontario Brain Institute, this video was developed in collaboration with people with CP, families of children with CP, clinicians, and researchers.The video highlights the stigma that people with both motor and communication impairments and their families often face in society, while at the same time giving the viewer some easy tips on how to make communication possible for everyone.
Research conducted at CanChild on the Computer-Based instrument for Low motor Language Testing (C-BiLLT), an exciting innovative tool to objectively examine what non-verbal children understand from speech, was also showcased. The C-BiLLT is first in its kind to provide a reliable, evidence-based assessment for these children, opening doors to better support, treatment, and education.

Thank you to everyone who helped us by voting for our video!

Congratulations to Linda Nguyen , PhD candidate at CanChild and School of Rehabilitation Science (McMaster University) for receiving the Australian Cerebral Palsy Alliance Conference Grant

The award will allow her to attend the upcoming European Academy of Childhood Disability (EACD) Conference in Poland and present her research on  the experiences of siblings with a brother or sister with a disability who are preparing for health care transition. Linda is supervised by Dr. Jan Willem Gorter, Director of CanChild and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics.
Call for Participants: ENVISAGE Study!

Parenting is a tough task. Parenting a child whose development might be complicated by a  disability may even be harder. Our team of researchers and parents developed a series of five  weekly online interactive workshops, called ENVISAGE: ENabling VISion And Growing  Expectations. The workshops are for parents or caregivers who are new to the journey  of disability. At this time we want to find out if these workshops improve parents' mental well- being and help them feel more confident, competent and empowered.

We would love to know what you think! If you are a  parent or caregiver based in CANADA or AUSTRALIA who has a child under the age of six and would like to learn more about the study, 
please visit the  ENVISAGE webpage or contact:

Debbie Hughes
Research Assistant
CanChild, McMaster University

New Webinar!

Watch this webinar featuring Cassie Fruck (student), Danny Steeves (talk show host), Jessica Geboers (journalist) and  Kyle Chambers (student). They are young adults with cerebral palsy who share their lived experience in transitioning from the pediatric to adult healthcare system. The discussion is moderated by  Dr. Jan Willem Gorter, Director of CanChild.

Recent Publications by CanChild Members!
Studies show that children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD) are less fit and physically active compared to their peers. However, the direction of causality is unknown. This paper aims to address the gap in precedence by conducting a 4-year longitudinal study with participants ranging from 4-5 years old. Results from parent interviews and initial screening of 1,680 children show that children with DCD experience problems in self-care, school or leisure. Children at risk for DCD have lower aerobic and musculoskeletal fitness and larger waist circumference. Future screenings of the cohort will allow examination of the motor coordination trajectories as children grow from early to middle childhood.  Authors:  Cairney J Veldhuizen S, Rodriguez MC, King-Dowling S, Kwan MY, Wade T, Price D, Missiuna C, Timmons B.  BMJ Open. 2019 Sept 08. doi:  10.1136/bmjopen-2019-029784

Data reports suggest that a significant number of children with epilepsy experience depression or other mood disorders. To look at the trajectories of the depression symptoms, this study assessed 477 children with epilepsy in a span of 28 months. Findings indicate that the symptoms of depression are not associated with the severity or frequency of seizures and are generally low over the extended period of follow ups. The reports of parents about depression symptoms are also comparable to the self-evaluation of the children. Overall, assessment and screening of children for depression symptoms is still important to manage clinical indications.  Authors:  Rosic T Avery L Streiner D Ferro M Rosenbaum P Cunningham C Ronen G Dev Med Child Neurol. 2019 Nov 7. doi: 10.1111/dmcn.14387

This study explored the relationship between motor skills proficiency and emotional problems among children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD). Behavioural assessments of 589 participants show that children with motor difficulties have more emotional problems than their typically developing peers. Children at risk of DCD score higher than the syndrome scale clinical threshold on anxiety, withdrawn, emotionally reactive, aggression, ADHD, internalizing, externalizing, and total problems. Their condition is also associated with higher probability of having multiple disorders. Opportunities for early clinical intervention may exist considering the early onset of emotional problems among preschool aged children. Authors: Rodriguez MCWade TVeldhuizen S, Missiuna C, Timmons B, Cairney J Front. Pediatr. 2019 Nov 19. doi:   10.3389/fped.2019.00474

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