Webinar - Live - Moving Past the Pandemic- Considerations for Autistic Children and their Caregivers Across Canada

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many but recent research suggests that the mental health and overall wellbeing of families of children on the autism spectrum have been disproportionally impacted by multiple waves of lockdowns across Canada.

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In this panel with researchers Dr. Vivian Lee (Carleton University) and Jonathan Weiss (York University), as well as researcher-parent Dr. Janet McLaughlin (Wilfred Laurier), Matthew Ley (host) will discuss the current research on how autistic children and their families have been impacted by the pandemic but also ways in which families have been able to cope and thrive. Long term implications of the pandemic will be discussed as well as ways we can continue supporting caregivers and families as we move forward past the pandemic.



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Dr. Vivian Lee, Ph.D.

Dr. Vivian Lee is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Carleton University. Her research focuses on the emotional and mental health of children and youth with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her work includes the investigation of child-, parent-, and system-level characteristics, and the relationship between these factors, that either support healthy emotional development or exacerbates difficulties in the child and for the family. She is also interested in the impact of these factors on overall parent and family wellbeing. Additionally, she has an interest in implementation science and program evaluations, and working alongside community-based autism care providers and advocacy groups, she is investigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as participation in psychosocial interventions, on the mental health and wellbeing of autistic youth and their caregivers.

Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Ph.D.

Dr. Weiss is a Professor in the Department of Psychology, and a Clinical Psychologist. He holds a Tier 2 York Research Chair in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disability Mental Health and is the Director of LaMarsh Centre for Child & Youth Research. His research focuses on mental health in autistic people or people with intellectual disabilities across the lifespan. He conducts studies into how people with developmental disabilities access mental health care, and is interested in their service needs, use, and experiences. His work is also focused on understanding and supporting family wellness when at least one family member has a developmental disability. He is interested in program development and evaluation, and in particular on the impact of Special Olympics on the psychological well-being of participants, and of psychosocial interventions to promote resilience and improve the mental health of children and adults with developmental disabilities.

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Dr. Janet McLaughlin, Ph.D.

Janet McLaughlin is an Associate Professor of Community Health and co-founder and co-director of the Laurier Autism Research Consortium (LARC) at Wilfrid Laurier University. After her son was diagnosed with autism in 2012, she developed an interest in the needs and experiences of caregivers, including how service access challenges influence their well-being. She has since led two major province-wide studies investigating these issues, the most recent of which was a partnership between LARC and Autism Ontario. The findings from this study, Families in Flux, explored access to autism services, education and well-being in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. McLaughlin’s current research focuses on understanding the experiences of underserved communities, particularly Indigenous and newcomer families. She previously served on the Ontario Autism Program Advisory Panel.





Disclaimer: Opinions reflected in this webinar are those of the speaker(s) and presenter(s), and do not necessarily reflect Autism Ontario’s views. Please note Autism Ontario does not endorse any specific therapy, product, treatment, strategy, opinions, service, or individual. We do, however, endorse your right to information. Autism Ontario strongly believes that it is important to do your own research and make your own informed decisions. 



May 26th, 2022 12:00 PM   through   June 17th, 2022 11:00 AM
On-line / En ligne
Provincial, ON
Phone: 416-246-9592  ext. 392
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