Three Ontario university graduate students are being recognized by the Council of Ontario Universities for their transformative autism research that supports new discoveries, treatments and contributions that will positively impact children with autism and their families. Each year, the Autism Scholars Award is presented to doctoral- and master’s-level researchers at an Ontario university.
This year’s recipients of the doctoral-level Autism Scholars Award, and a $20,000 prize, are Nancy Marshall from York University and Alexandra Minuk from Queen’s University. The recipient of the master’s-level Autism Scholars Award, and an $18,000 prize, is Braxton Hartman from York University.
Nancy Marshall’s research is the first to explore the mental health and well-being outcomes related to Applied Behavioural Analysis – the most widely recommended treatment and education approach for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families in Ontario. The outcome of her research will help inform and enhance autism support services to better meet the needs of individuals on the spectrum across the province.
Alexandra Minuk’s research investigates the regional, populational and socio-economic variables associated with the disparities and barriers in accessing autism spectrum disorder diagnosis and treatment in Ontario. The outcome of her research will help identify regions where families may require additional support and could help inform the allocation of resources for Ontario schools and school boards.
Braxton Hartman’s research examines how networks in the brain communicate with one another and how this can differ in individuals with autism. The outcome of his research will help provide insight into the underlying neural basis of autism, which could open new avenues of autism research, such as therapeutics and clinical decision making.
The Autism Scholars Awards Program was established with the support of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to ensure Ontario continues to promote leading-edge scholarship into autism, which affects 1 in 66 Canadian children and youth, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
For more information on how the awards are administered, click here.
To learn about last year’s winners, click here.