Autism Scholars Award 2021

Two Ontario university graduate students are being recognized by the Council of Ontario Universities for their pioneering 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 a doctoral and master’s-level researcher at an Ontario university.

This year’s recipient of the doctoral-level Autism Scholars Award and a $20,000 prize is Carly Albaum from York University. Albaum’s research examines how process factors such as a client’s motivation and involvement in psychotherapy sessions determines why and how some youth benefit from therapy and others do not. The outcome of Albaum’s research will help inform mental health care providers about the kinds of therapeutic processes to consider when providing care to youth with autism which addresses a critical gap in existing mental health research.

This year’s recipient of the master’s-level Autism Scholars Award and a $18,000 prize is Olivia Dobson from the University of Guelph. Dobson’s research is the first to investigate how needle pain management tools and fear-reducing interventions can be tailored to children with autism and their families. Dobson’s research will help inform clinical guidelines and educate healthcare professionals and families about how best to support children with autism who undergo needle procedures.

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 one in 66 Canadian children, 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.

Doctoral Award
  • Carly Albaum, York University
Master's Award
  • Olivia Dobson, University of Guelph