News & Publications

Ontario FASD funding announcement generates hope and concern

May 16, 2017

An announcement from the Ontario government earlier this month committing $26 million in the province’s budget to support youth and families affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is being met with a mixed response.

The strategy lists six initiatives, which include providing one-stop access to information, funding for 56 FASD workers and parent support networks, increasing access to FASD initiatives developed by Indigenous partners, establishing consultation groups, and creating a research fund.

Every adult of today was a child first. But do children have a voice in matters that are important for them?

April 21, 2017

Do children with disabilities and their families know they have rights? Does Canada respect their rights? In Giving a Voice to Children’s Rights, a blog posting on March 31, 2017, Dr. Keiko Shikako Thomas laid out these intersecting issues arising in childhood disability and human rights in a Canadian context.

A few days later, Shikako-Thomas, co-lead of the Network's KT Core policy engagement project and other members of a Canadian delegation of civil society organizations (CSOs) appeared before the United Nations committee overseeing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Dr. Shikako-Thomas presented on the status of children with disabilities and responded to detailed questions as part of a compliance review in Geneva April 2-4. Canada became a 2010 signatory to the convention, and both the federal government and relevant NGOs participated in the review process.

Social ABCs program can be transformative for non-verbal toddlers with autism or yet-to-be diagnosed

March 30, 2017

Alexandra Foster sits alongside her son blowing bubbles, watching them drift across his bedroom. “Bubble!” enthuses three-year-old Hayden, making the sound of an ‘L’ for the first time in his life.

“Just hearing him say that word was such a happy moment for me,” says Foster. Last year, Hayden was diagnosed with autism. Up until then, he had been effectively non-verbal, meaning the few words he could say, Hayden used out of context.   

Recently identified genes so specific to autism they hold diagnostic potential

March 13, 2017

The recent identification of new genetic variants associated with autism brings to the forefront important considerations when using genetics as a tool for detection of this complex disorder. 

“Whole genome sequencing resource identifies 18 new candidate genes for autism spectrum disorder”—which was funded by Kids Brain Health Network and published in Nature Neuroscience—is the largest whole genome study of autism to date. The findings have implications for children and families as they represent another step towards the development of a genetic diagnostic for ASD.