Welcome to the July 15th edition of CanChild Today! We are excited to share research opportunities, awards, and publications by some of our members!

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Youth Engagement in Research!
Three youth (two of whom are in wheelchairs) sitting around a table. One youth asked about what it means to be a research partner. Another youth responded that as a research partner, you are an equal member of a research team.
We need your help! Participate in the Youth Engagement in Research study.

Our team aims to develop training materials with and for youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities to support their knowledge, skills, and confidence as research partners.

Different from being a research participant (patient as a data point), a research partner plays an equal and active role as part of the research team. They help guide the research process by setting priorities that are meaningful and relevant to patients and their community.
We are looking for youth (ages 18-25) with neurodevelopmental condition(s) to participate in an online focus group or individual interview to discuss training needs.

Please contact Samantha Dong ( if you are interested or have any questions.

Thank you in advance! Your perspectives will be valuable for informing the development of future training materials.

This research study has been reviewed by the Hamilton Integrated Research Ethics Board under project #12611.
CanChild Associate Member Dr. Jill Zwicker has received a Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Brain Development and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Zwicker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at The University of British Columbia, where she will hold the award for five years.

Dr. Zwicker’s work with CanChild has predominantly focused on Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), a common yet under-recognized motor skills disorder that affects five to six percent of all school-aged children. She uses advanced neuroimaging techniques to examine brain differences in children with DCD and to understand whether brain structure and function can change with rehabilitation intervention.
CanChild Associate Member Dr. Iona Novak has been awarded the Elsass Foundation Research Prize for her leadership and significant contribution in the field of Cerebral Palsy (CP) research.

The prestigious award will support Dr. Novak’s goal to discover and test new treatments in priority areas identified by people with CP. “Professor Novak is recognized internationally for her leadership and research in the evidence base for rehabilitation, early intervention, and more recently the potential for stem cell therapy towards a cure for cerebral palsy,” says Professor Thomas Sinkjær, Chairman of the Selection Committee.
Graduate student opportunity!
We are looking for a Graduate student in Rehabilitation Science to help conduct an exciting new Transition Project.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michelle Batthish

The successful candidate will:
  • work well independently, be detail-oriented, organized, conscientious and have strong verbal and written communication skills;
  • be involved in consenting study participants in a clinical setting, administering and collecting questionnaires, performing data input and cleaning, supporting undergraduate students working with the REDCap database, performing data analyses and reporting of results; 
  • be responsible for organizing team meetings, setting the agenda and recording minutes.

Applicants must be based in Hamilton, ON as the study runs at McMaster Children's Hospital.
Interested students, please send your CV and cover letter to
Recent Publications by CanChild Members!
Programmes to prepare siblings for future roles to support their brother or sister with a neurodisability: protocol of a scoping review.
Siblings share a lifelong bond in their relationship. When a brother or sister has a neurodisability, a sibling may choose to provide support. This review aims to summarize the characteristics and outcomes of programmes designed to prepare siblings in their future roles to support their brother or sister with a neurodisability. The researchers describe how they will carry out the scoping review in this protocol paper. In partnership with the Sibling Youth Advisory Council, they plan to share the findings with stakeholders such as healthcare providers, researchers, and patient and family advocacy groups. Authors: Nguyen L, Bootsma J, Di Rezze B, Jack S, Ketelaar M, Gorter JW. BMJ Open. 2021 Jul 7;11(7):e053184. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-053184.
What is the threshold dose of upper limb training for children with cerebral palsy to improve function? A systematic review
This study found that children needed to practice for more than a threshold dose of 30-40 hours to achieve clinically significant improvements in motor ability. They are also likely to achieve individual goals if they have set their own goals and have practiced for more than 14-25 hours. However, the inconsistencies in dose among effective and ineffective interventions show that dose is not the only important factor; there are other critical components such as efficacy, enjoyment, and collaborative goal-setting. Occupational Therapists should consider how to achieve threshold dose when planning for intervention. Moreover, a home programme can supplement face-to-face intervention to achieve the threshold dose of practice. Authors: Jackman M, Lannin N, Galea C, Sakzewski L, Miller L, Novak I. Aust Occup Ther J. 2020 Jun;67(3):269-280. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12666.
Primary Care Provider and Child Characteristics Associated with Age of Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Population-Based Cohort Study
Children with more severe Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) were diagnosed earlier if their care providers received domestic training compared to children with care providers who received foreign training. Sociodemographic characteristics of the child and family were not associated with the age of the first ASD diagnosis. After identification of any developmental delay, children who received care from a family physician in an enrollment model were diagnosed earlier than children who received care from a pediatrician. The findings of this study can inform primary care provider training focusing on ASD and opportunities for early intervention offered by early diagnosis. Authors: Siddiqua A, Janus M, Mesterman R, Duku E, Georgiades K, Saxena F, Zhao H, Saunders N. J Autism Dev Disord. 2021 Jun 29. doi: 10.1007/s10803-021-05165-8.
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