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ADDL Name Change and New Website!

We are excited to announce a change to our name! We have changed our name to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Lab, replacing the term "disorders" in our old name with the term "disabilities". This change was made to recognize a shift in the preferences in language and terminology of those in our community.

With our new name, we have launched our new website ( and a new logo (see below). We will aim to have this website re-direct to our new website, but please be sure to bookmark our new website as we transition!

Click here to go to our new website!



Event Recording Now Available - Addressing the impact of the pandemic on families of children with special needs

The online event hosted by Simon Fraser University, titled "Addressing the impact of the pandemic on families of children with special needs", can be accessed by clicking here

Researchers from SFU presented their policy report based on findings from their research study titled “Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on families of autistic children”. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge the funding and support provided by Kids Brain Health Network, Mitacs, and ACT - Autism Community Training to make this study possible.

Among the presenters are Lab Director Dr. Grace Iarocci and doctoral student Vanessa Fong. The live event was recorded on January 8, 2021. Thank you to everyone who attended and provided feedback. 

ADDL in the News - How is COVID-19 affecting families caring for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Click here to view the news article!

Over the summer, the ADDL collaborated with ACT-Autism Community Training to explore how COVID-19 was affecting families caring for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in British Columbia. 

Visit the news article for more information, including a poster of the results prepared by PhD student Vanessa Fong.
Thank you to the families who participated! This research was funded by the Community Engagement Initiative grant at Simon Fraser University. 

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

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

We are looking for participants to take part in an online study that aims to understand social competence and how it relates to individuals with ASD.

Who are we looking for: Individuals who are older than 16 years old are invited to participate in this study. We are looking for Autistic Individuals, Parents of Autistic Individuals, Teachers, and Professionals that work with Autistic Individuals.

About the study:  If you are interested and agree to participate you would be asked to: fill out a series of questionnaires and watch brief video clips and provide ratings on these video clips. Your participation can be completed online and will take about 2 hours to complete. In appreciation for your time, you will receive $20.

For more information about this study, or to volunteer for this study, please contact:

Dr. Nichole Scheerer
Social Sciences – Psychology

Study - E-Learning Platform for Caregivers of Autistic Children

Posted on behalf of Dr. Katerina Schenke and Ohoud Alharbi at Simon Fraser University. 

Earn access to 2 months of the platform FREE and be entered into a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card! Researchers at Simon Fraser University are looking for parents of children diagnosed with Autism for a 30-minute interview

Are you the parent of a child diagnosed with autism?

We are developing an e-learning platform that helps caregivers of autistic children.

Slots available for participation. Enter your information here:

We will ask you questions about the types of skills you focus on with your child and how you communicate with your child’s therapist.

The study will take place over Zoom and take 30 minutes.

For your participation you will receive FREE two months “Premium subscription” to our online platform during Fall 2020 as well as a chance to win a $50 Visa gift card.

If you are interested or have any questions, please contact Ohoud Alharbi or Dr. Katerina Schenke at

Online Study - Measuring Sound Sensitivity

Principal Investigator: Dr. Elina Birmingham, Simon Fraser University
What do we want to know?
We are investigating how individuals experience sounds in their everyday environments, and how sensitivity to noise, when it occurs, impacts daily living and mental health. You do not need to have sensitivity to noise to participate in the study. 
Who are we looking for?
Adults with and without a diagnosis of ASD, over the age of 19 years old.
About the study:
Participants will be asked to fill out a series of questionnaires, including basic information about themselves, their social behaviours, their experiences with sounds, and questions about satisfaction with various areas of life.
The study should take approximately one hour. As a thank-you for your time, we will enter you into a draw to win one of four $50 (CAD) Amazon gift cards.
Email study coordinator Troy Boucher at for more information. 

To access the study, please use the following link:

Study - PEERS Follow-Up Study

To view the advertisement, please click here!

This study advertisement is posted on behalf of Brittni Thompson as part of her Master's thesis under the supervision of Dr. William McKee at the University of British Columbia.

Are you a parent who has participated in PEERS?

Would you like to talk about your experiences with participating in PEERS and supporting your adolescent's social skills? The information you share about your experience will inform how to better address parent's needs, and may assist with developing parent programs in the future.

Study Purpose: To learn more about parent experiences in PEERS and to determine which things about your experiences were helpful or less helpful to your adolescent and your family in managing your adolescents' social skills.
Who: Parents who have completed the PEERs program within the last three years.
What is involved: A confidential individual online interview using Zoom (approximately 45 to 90 minutes) and an optional follow-up telephone interview (approximately 20 to 30 minutes).
Participation in this study is voluntary. Participants who participate will be provided with a token of appreciation for their time.
Please contact Brittni Thompson if you would like to participate, or if you have any questions:

A Practical Evidence-Based Self-Help Program for COVID-19-Related Worry and Low Mood

The Valley Centre for Counselling has created a six-session program for worry and low mood related to COVID-19. They are free and publically available on their website: These sessions may be of value to those currently affected by the current global health crisis. 

Please note that the ADDL is not affiliated, endorsed, or officially connected with the Valley Centre for Counselling. The official Valley Centre for Counselling website can be found here: Please contact them should you have any questions pertaining to the published content. 

Study - Sound Sensitivity in Children with ASD - Ages 11 to 18 years old

Please click here for the advertisement for this study!

Investigators: Dr. Elina Birmingham and Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University

Who are we looking for? Children diagnosed with ASD between the ages of 11 to 18 years old who experience issues with sound sensitivity.

What do we want to know? Sound sensitivity is very common in ASD, and can interfere with family life and participation in daily activities. We are interested in learning more about how adolescents on the autism spectrum cope with sound sensitivity, and how sensitivity has impacted their lives. Sound sensitivity includes being over-reactive to sounds in general, or certain types of sounds.

About the study: The study will involve two sessions. The first session will involve an initial interview where the adolescent and caregivers are asked about their child’s experiences dealing with over-reactivity to sounds in the child’s environment. The second session will have the adolescent listen to a variety of different sounds while their bodily reactions are monitored with a non-invasive wristwatch.

This study will take approximately 6 hours over 2 sessions (for persons with ASD) and 3 hours over 1 session (for parents). The first session will take place at UBC. The second session will take place at either UBC or SFU Burnaby. 

As a thank-you for your time, we are offering $20/hour or portion thereof for persons with ASD and $10/hour or portion thereof for parents.  If you are interested in participating, please contact study coordinator Troy Boucher (Email:, Phone: 778-782-6746), and please provide your phone number so that we can contact you to provide further information.

Study - Roleplaying / Larping in ASD

Posted on behalf of Kari Gustafson, PhD Student at Simon Fraser University.

Do you have an ASD diagnosis, or are you the parent of an individual with an ASD diagnosis?  Do you (or does your child) participate in larping (live action roleplaying) or tabletop roleplaying / RPG games (such as Dungeons & Dragons)?  I am a PhD student in the Faculty of Education. I would like to interview individuals from ages 13 to 60 with ASD (and/or their parents) about their experiences with larp and roleplaying activities and groups.

The interview can take place anywhere you choose, and will take 60-90 minutes. As a thank-you for your time I can offer you a $20 gift card. If you would like more information or are interested in participating, please contact Kari Gustafson at

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