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troy's blog

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.

Focus Group - Parents of Children with ASD with Sound Sensitivities

Click here for a PDF version of the advertisement for this focus group!

Are you a parent of a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who experiences sensitivity to sound? We are interested in understanding what strategies children and their families use to cope with being sensitive to sounds in their environments. In addition, we are seeking user feedback on an innovative technological solution for addressing sound sensitivity.

Who are we looking for?

Parents of a child with ASD, of any age and who experiences sensitivity to sound, to be a part of a focus group. 

About the focus group:

The focus group will take place on March 12, 2020 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the SFU Surrey Campus.

As a participant in this focus group, you will first take part in a discussion with other parents and researchers that focus on families' experiences coping with sound sensitivity. Second, we will demonstrate a new technology that we have developed to support children with sound sensitivity. As part of a multiple-stage development strategy, we are seeking feedback at each phase to ensure that we are meeting our users' expectations.

Signing a non-disclosure (confidentiality) agreement will be required to participate in this focus group study. Your total time commitment should you choose to participate will be approximately 2 hours. As a thank you for your time, we will provide you with a $25 gift card.

This study involves audio recording the discussion to ensure that we accurately capture what has been expressed. Neither your name, your child’s name, nor any other identifying information will be associated with the audio recording or the transcriptions of the discussion. Only the principal investigator and co-investigators will have access to the recordings. As with all the data from this project, the recordings will be securely stored in a locked file cabinet at Simon Fraser University.

Please use the following link to register:


If you have questions, please contact the researcher coordinator, Troy Boucher.


Phone: (778) 782-6746



FREE SFU Camp for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Click here to view a PDF flyer for the camp!

The Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab (ADDL) at SFU and Special Olympics BC (SOBC) have partnered to provide a FREE camp for children and adults with intellectual disabilities at SFU. All campers will receive a free SOBC t-shirt!

Date and Registration Forms:


  • Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus

About the Camp:

The camp for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities is a fun and educational camp that offers an inclusive environment to engage safely in learning and physical activities. Campers will be supervised by trained SFU faculty, students, and community professionals.

Parking and transit costs up to $6 will be reimbursed by camp staff. Campers will receive a free Special Olympics BC Shirt! Healthy snacks will be served to campers and caregivers, but please be sure to pack a lunch for your child.

A portion of this camp involves you and your child participating in a research study. The research study requires minimal participation; the majority of the day is devoted to fun crafts, sports, and learning activities. Children will be asked whether or not they want to participate in any and all tasks and can stop at any time with no repercussions. During the study, your child will be asked to play a word and puzzle game, and participate in a 1-on-1 conversation about their favourite sports and hobbies.

Caregivers will be asked to complete two questionnaires about their child and complete the required consent forms prior to their child's participation. Please note that for ethical reasons, we cannot provide individual results. All data collected is kept confidential and is for research purposes only. This study is approved by the SFU Office of Research Ethics, study number [2019s0458]. Funding for the camp is provided by Special Olympics BC and Special Olympics International. 

Contact Us:

Troy Boucher, Lab Manager
Phone: (778) 782-6746


Call for Volunteers - ADDL and Special Olympics Day Camp for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

About the Camps:

Two day camps will take place on Saturday February 22nd and 29th from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

These two day camps were created from a partnership between Special Olympics BC and the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab (ADDL) at SFU. The goal of these sessions is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for neurodiverse individuals to engage in sport, learning, and brief research activities. Activities will include various sport and athletic games conducted in a supervised and positive environment, nutrition and healthy-eating learning games, and 1-on-1 conversations about the individual's involvement in sports.

We expect the volunteer to participant ratio to be at least 1:1.  We are looking for up to 40 dedicated volunteers to help during both days.

Volunteer Positions:

There are four positions that we are currently recruiting for:

Group Leader - Leads same group of 5 to 8 children through activities and breaks. Experience supervising children and/or adults preferred; should be comfortable in a leadership role and be willing to encourage and assist individuals to participate in activities.

Co-Leader - Assists leader with same group of 5-8 children through activities and breaks. Experience with children and/or adults preferred; should be willing to encourage and assist individuals to participate in activities.

Activity Helper/Floater - Step into any position that may be required, and to facilitate additional support in any given role. Must be cooperative and enthusiastic.

Data Collection/Registration - Work with camp administrators to collect participant's information and assist families through the registration process. Experience with previous data collection preferred; must be organized, motivated, and have strong attention to detail.

Interviews and Training Days:

Applicants will be asked to attend a group-style interview. Questions regarding previous experience and hypothetical situations will be the focus of this interview.

Successful applicants will be assigned a position and invited to a training session in February prior to the day camps. This training session will include information regarding best practices for supervision and specific training for each task.

How to Apply:

Please complete the following application form:

Please also email your resume and unofficial transcript to Troy at

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

Online Study - Partnership for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Addiction (PAAD)

Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University (SFU)
Dr. Marie-Hélène Poulin, University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) 
What do we want to know?
The purpose of the project is to describe the lifestyle and using habits of substances, internet and gambling of young people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. 
Who are we looking for?
Individuals ages 16 to 30 with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
About the Study:
Teenagers and young adults (ages 16 to 30) with ASD are invited to complete an online questionnaire (about 60 minutes in length). The teens and young adults who complete the online survey have a chance to win a $20 gift card among all respondents. Five gift cards will be randomly drawn.

To access the population survey, click on the following link:
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Kelly Tremblay, research project coordinator by email (

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


Volunteer with the 2019 SFU Social Science Camp!

Applications to volunteer with the SFU Social Science Camp have closed. The volunteer application deadline was May 20th at 11:59 pm.

The Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab (ADDL) is seeking volunteers for our 8th annual SFU Social Science Camp. Since 2012, the ADDL has held a two-day summer camp for children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder. Children will engage in a variety of fun crafts, games and research experiments. The 2019 SFU Social Camp will occur on July 13th and July 20th.

We are looking for the following positions to be filled during the two-day camp:

Group Leaders:

Leads same group of 5-7 children through activities and breaks. Experience with children required; should be comfortable in a leadership role and be willing to encourage and assist children to participate in activities.



Using your knowledge and experience, you and another co-leader will lead the same group of 5-7 children through activities and breaks. Experience with children and individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) preferred; must be willing to encourage and assist children to participate in activities, and have knowledge about ASD or other developmental disorders.


Step into any position that may be required, and to facilitate additional support in any given role. Must be cooperative and enthusiastic. This is the recommended position for those who do not have experience working with children or individuals diagnosed with ASD.

Data Collectors:

Work with camp administrators to collect participant's information and assist families through the registration process. Experience with previous data collection preferred; must be organized, motivated, and have attention to detail skills.

How to Volunteer:

This camp requires prepared and devoted volunteers, so if this is something that you may be interested in, we invite you to fill out the following application: Please also send your resume and unofficial transcript to our Volunteer Coordinator, Ashtyn DeBoice at

If you have any questions about the ADDL and the work we do, please contact Lab Manager Troy Boucher at  for more information!

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

Principal Investigator: Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University

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?

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

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