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We are the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University in the Department of Psychology. Under the direction of Dr. Grace Iarocci, we conduct research on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Down Syndrome, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and other Developmental Disabilities.

Please feel free to explore our webpage for news, publications, and opportunities to participate in research.

Hon. Mike Lake - World Autism Awareness Day

Posted on behalf of Honourable Mike Lake, Member of Parliment:

On April 3rd, 2019, I made my annual one-minute World Autism Awareness Day statement in the Canadian House of Commons, with my 23-year-old son, Jaden, watching from the gallery. 

We'd love it if you'd consider sharing it within your own networks and let us know your thoughts!

Links to the video:

All the best,


Hon. Mike Lake, PC, MP
Shadow Minister for Youth, Sport and Accessibility
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @MikeLakeMP


Online Study - Social Competency and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci

What do we want to know?

This study explores what people think about social competence and the ideas people have about what it means for a person to have good social skills. As part of this study we will explore how participant characteristics such as opinions on social competence, age, occupation, experience working with individuals with diverse populations (i.e., individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder), relate to judgments of the social competence of a group of adults viewed in video format.

Who are we looking for?

  • Self-Identified Autistic Adults (ages 16+)
  • Parents and Caregivers of a child/children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Professionals and/or Experts who have practical knowledge and experience working with children, youth and/or adults with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

About the Study:

This research can be completed online, or in person, at the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus. You will be asked to fill out questionnaires, and watch brief video clips where you will be required to make judgments about individuals in the videos. This study takes approximately 90 minutes to complete. Upon completion, you will be entered into a draw to win a $100 visa gift card.

If you are interested in participating in our research, please contact us by email at or by phone at (778) 782-6746.

Social Thinking and Perspective-Taking in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Posted on behalf of Michelle Hunsche of the Lifespan Cognition Lab at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

My name is Michelle Hunsche and I am recently-graduated Psychology student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. I am currently completing a follow-up project to my Honor’s thesis under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Bernstein. I am writing to you today to invite you to participate in our research study on social thinking and perspective-taking ability in children and youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The study will be looking at how children with ASD and FASD differ in their ability to make social judgments and decisions, and in their ability to take the perspective of others.

Families who are interested in being involved have the option of participating at Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Surrey campus or in the comfort of their own homes. If you decide to participate in this study, you will complete a several brief social skills and demographics questionnaires regarding your child’s age, diagnosis, and behaviour in various social situations. While you complete these questionnaires, a trained research assistant will take your child through a series of games designed to be fun and engaging for children of all ages and abilities. The study takes about an hour to an hour and a half for each child to complete (with time for breaks). Parents/guardians will receive $30 for each child that participates as a thank-you for their time, and children also get a little treat for participating. Our hope is to use the results of this study to inform current practices and programs that can lead to happier and healthier lives for children with ASD and FASD. This project is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's Partnership Engage Grant, a one-year grant that will support the project until December 2018.

If you would like to participate in this study or have any questions, you can give us a call at 604-599-2162 or send us an email at

Thank you very much for your time!

Michelle Hunsche

Gender Differences in Self-Perception Competence in Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted on the behalf of Laura Vandervoot from Queen's University.

My name is Laura Vandervoort and I am an undergraduate student in the psychology department at Queen’s University. I am currently completing my fourth-year research project under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Kelley. I am writing to you today to invite you to participate in my research study on gender differences in self-perception competencies in youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The study will be looking at how males and females with ASD differ in their ability to accurately perceive their academic abilities.

If you decide to participate in this study, you will complete a brief history and demographics questionnaire regarding your child’s age, diagnosis, and current level of academic functioning in Mathematics and English, as well as a Social Communication Questionnaire. In total, the completion of these questionnaires should take no longer than approximately 10 minutes. If your child is between the ages of 9 and 18, s/he will also be asked to participate in this study by completing a pre-performance rating of how they think they will perform on the tasks, 10 English tasks at varying degrees of difficulty, 10 mathematics calculations at varying degrees of difficulty, and a post-performance rating indicating how many questions they think they answered correctly. This should take approximately 30 minutes for your child to complete. All information that has the potential to identify you (e.g. name, email) will be removed from your data prior to the researcher receiving them. The data will be stored anonymously in a password protected computer. The only people who will have access to the data are myself and my supervisor Dr. Kelley. The data from all participating families will be combined and analyzed. The findings will be used in my honours thesis, a written document that will be completed and presented at the end of this academic year. If you choose to take part in the survey you will be entered into a draw to win a $10 Best Buy Gift Certificate, individuals will have a 1 in 8 chance of winning. 

Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. If you would like to participate, you may access the questionnaire package by clicking on the link below.

If you have any questions about the study, please feel free to contact me at 

Thank you very much for your time.

Laura Vandervoort

Mission Statement

The director, students, and staff of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab are committed to maximizing the quality of life and social development for children with and without developmental disabilities. We believe in the full inclusion of all children in society. We believe that research is needed to achieve this ideal of inclusion.

Our research focuses on how children learn to act appropriately in social situations and how families and communities can support the development of social competence. We recognize the significant challenges to social inclusion faced by children with developmental disabilities such as ASD and Down syndrome and our research is designed to produce information to address these challenges through better awareness, understanding, and teaching strategies.

The research at ADDL has been funded by the Canadian Tri-Councils (SSHRC, CIHR, & NSERC), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Human Early Partnership, and the Laurel Foundation.

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