Study finds link between gut bacteria and enhanced cognition in infant boys

Could potentially identify children at risk of neurodevelopmental disorders

Study finds link between gut bacteria and enhanced cognition in infant boysInfant boys with a higher composition of a particular gut microbiota show enhanced neurodevelopment, according to a new study. The University of Alberta-led research followed more than 400 infants from the CHILD Cohort Study (CHILD) at its Edmonton site. Boys with a gut bacterial composition that was high in the bacteria Bacteroidetes at one year of age…

Researchers detect early signs of autism in at-risk infants

Some of the earliest signs apparent quite early in life – for many children even by the first birthday

Researchers detect early signs of autism in at-risk infantsMedical researchers reliably predicted autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a large sample of at-risk children by identifying and tracking early behavioural signs at 12 months of age, according to study findings published Dec. 25 in Child Development. “This research really reinforces what parents have been telling us for so many years,” said principal investigator Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, pediatrician…

Building quality of life into spaces for people with ‘invisible’ disabilities

Ensuring physical accessibility is only the beginning of creating places where people can ‘be who they are,’ says design consultant and PhD student Lara Pinchbeck

Building quality of life into spaces for people with ‘invisible’ disabilitiesWhen designing spaces for people living with disabilities, there’s more to consider than whether they’re physically accessible. A greater challenge is making sure the environments we work and live in accommodate ‘invisible’ or ‘hidden’ disabilities – a long list of conditions that range from hearing impairment to autism to anxiety disorders. Understanding the space requirements of…

How Sesame Place is helping children with autism 

The organization has always been strongly committed to the growth, development and education of children from all walks of life

How Sesame Place is helping children with autism If you and your children enjoy watching Sesame Street, the long-running educational children’s television series, here’s some exciting news. SeaWorld Entertainment announced on Oct. 22 that it will be opening a second Sesame Place theme park in San Diego, Calif., in spring 2021. The 17-acre facility will be built adjacent to SeaWorld San Diego and…

Cool the hype around genetics and health care

We are a long way from identifying definitive biomarkers to illness and personalized gene therapies are likely generations away

Cool the hype around genetics and health careBy Nicole Letourneau and Suzanne Tough University of Calgary Genetics will save the day – that’s the message you see constantly in the media and even in academic literature. But it's a message that can distract us from providing quality care now. Newspapers herald breakthroughs in finding genetic biomarkers for autism. Magazines trumpet finding a…

Three ways you can help families affected by autism

Small gestures can make all the difference to someone’s day

Three ways you can help families affected by autismAbout one in 68 children has been identified with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to data collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (one in 42 boys). ASD often includes those with a wide range of challenges and abilities, including linguistic, social and sensory impairment, along with fine motor and gross…

What can we learn from one another today?

Each of us is worthy of dignity and respect. The more we embrace this truth about ourselves, the more we can see it in our neighbours.

What can we learn from one another today?In his book Horton Hears A Who, Dr. Seuss reminds us, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Being mindful of this is one of the keys to finding joy and fulfilment in life. Everyone we meet, above all else, is a person. Each of us is worthy of dignity and respect. The more…

The ‘A’ words – autism and advocacy – go hand in hand

With early intervention and the right supports, children with autism can learn and thrive. But too many doors are closed to these children

The ‘A’ words – autism and advocacy – go hand in hand“As soon as I mentioned the ‘A’ word, I knew she would not be calling me back.” This was what one of the parents I met at my preschool told me it was like trying to register her son with autism in a non-specialized local community program. Once the registrar heard the word autism, they…

Parents have the power to release their child’s remarkable inner gifts

The talents of some children are like buried treasure. But you can trust a parent to see these precious gifts and help unearth them

Parents have the power to release their child’s remarkable inner giftsWhen asked how important family has been on his life journey, motivational speaker Nick Vujicic replied, “It was the most important factor. I’m very thankful that they loved me, challenged me to never give up, try new things, and often gave me godly advice.” What is unique about Vujicic is that he was born without…

No guarantee of quality supports for disabled Canadians

The tangled web of disability governance and policy in Canada needs to clarified and centralized

No guarantee of quality supports for disabled CanadiansBy Jennifer Zwicker and Stephanie Dunn University of Calgary At a recent Senate committee hearing on the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP), the father of a child with autism made a heartfelt plea and a chilling statement: “We are impacted by the inability to secure our son’s future. We…