Photo of umbrellas falling from the sky. It is sunny, and the umbrellas are yellow, and various shades of blue.

The Research Exchange Group on Autism is open to the public; the presentations hosted by this group will be of interest to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families/caregivers as well as to the research community. The Research Exchange Group on Autism meets regularly to discuss research, review funding opportunities and collaborate on research projects. The group also provides a forum where students, researchers, policy makers and the general public can meet to discuss issues related to autism. The Research Exchange Group on Autism was founded in partnership with the Autism Research Committee. 

See Group Activities and Presentations

Group Convener
  • Tess Hartmann, Chief Operating Officer, Autism Society, Newfoundland and Labrador

Goals & Objectives

The Research Exchange Group on Autism aims to:

  • Create trans-disciplinary research linkages
  • Identify gaps in existing research literature
  • Work towards developing greater overall capacity to conduct research on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Join Us

NLCAHR’s Research Exchange Group on Autism welcomes anyone with an interest in autism to join us. See our calendar of meetings for information about upcoming webinars or email for more details.

Group Activities & Presentations


March 22, 2021 | Autism Society-NL (ASNL): Programming Update & Research Potential | Julia Pender, Navigator, on behalf of  Sarah White, Manager of Programs and Services at the Autism Society of NL | This presentation provided an update on ASNL’s many programs and services, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that have unfolded as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the switch to virtual services. We also introduced our membership to ASNL’s new Chief Executive Officer, J. Paul Walsh.  After the presentation we had a discussion about research potential and opportunities for collaboration among university faculty and student researchers, health system partners, and ASNL. | Link to Presentation | 


October 6, 2020 | Briefing on the Province's New ASD Action Plan | Lisa Baker Worthman, Department of Health and Community Services | Link to Presentation |

November 4, 2020 | Healthy Relationships and Sexuality for Young Adults with ASD Program | Jennifer Spracklin, registered clinical sexologist | The presenation provided an overview of an evidence-based program offered by the Autism Society of NL. The presentation covered information about the program and related services. So far, feedback about the program has been overwhelmingly positive. | Link to Presentation | 

December 14, 2020 | ASD-Specific Housing Supports Analysis | Dr. Sharon Penney, Dr. Kimberly Maich, Robyn Cossitt | This presentation discussed the results of a needs assessment conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador that quantifies, frames, and contextualizes the processes and/or problems experienced by adults with ASD while accessing housing in NL. The study uses a sequential mixed methodology approach, applying quantitative and qualitative methods to determine the current housing situation, gaps in services, and possible solutions. After completing an initial literature review of provincial, Canadian, and international sources, the research team conducted 19 interviews with adults with ASD, caregivers/parents of adults with ASD, and service providers to determine the current needs, barriers and experiences when accessing and maintaining housing. Using data and directions collected from the interviews, the research team developed an ongoing online survey to reach a greater number of participants. Preliminary findings from participant interviews and surveys identify three significant areas of concern: life span development and developmentally appropriate practices; vulnerability and discrimination; and accessibility. Participation in this study offered community members the chance to influence the future of supportive housing for people with ASD in NL, hopefully minimizing gaps in services. |

February 26, 2020 | Canadian Association for Autistic Collaboration, Information Session | Trudy Goold | The presentation provided information about a new organization in which people with autism can connect with eachother, researchers, and policy makers. | Link to Presentation |


October 4, 2019 | Parent Early Detection and Intervention of ASD Signs in Infants At-Risk | Dr. Maurice Feldman, Dept. of Applied Disability Studies, Brock University and Dr. Rebecca Ward, Phoenix Centre for Learning and Dept. of Applied Disability Studies, Brock University | Drs. Feldman and Ward presented three studies from their ASD lab. The first describes the validation of the Parent Observation of Early Markers Scale (POEMS), a 61-item parent report checklist that tracks the development of at-risk children from birth to 36 months. The second study focuses on the relationship between family history of medical, developmental and psychiatric conditions and POEMS scores in infants at low and high risk for ASD. The third study shows how the POEMS can be used to identify early intervention targets and the effectiveness of parent-mediated early intervention for pre-diagnosed at-risk young children. Taken together, these studies show that the POEMS is a low-cost, valid screener that can detect risk of ASD in infants and that parent mediated early intervention may remediate early ASD signs in these children. | Link to Presentation |

November 12, 2019 | ABA Access: Software to Aid Online Delivery of Applied Behaviour Analysis Therapy | Mark Gauci | ABA Access is a St. John’s-based IT company that is developing specialized interactive software for the online delivery of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. Its goal is to offer parents of autistic children the tools to continue with therapy under the supervision of a senior therapist when their child’s regular therapist is unavailable. This interactive digital health solution allows children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to receive Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy without physical interaction with a therapist and to better co-ordinate patient data between therapists. |

September 12, 2019 | The Use of Horticultural Therapy Practices in the Autism Society of NL's Transitions Program | Megan Marshall | The presentation discussed how the Transitions program taps into communicative and social skill issues that people with Autism face by using Horticultural Therapy approaches and how these approaches help teach functional employment skills. | Link to Presentation |


November 8, 2018 | Autism and Entrepreneurship |  Gregory Knott | The presentation provided an examination of the effectiveness of self-employment as a model to address the economic isolation experienced by individuals with autism spectrum disorder. | Link to Presentation | 

October 4, 2018 | Autism and Sensory Processing: An Overview From Lived Experience |  Trudy Goold | Link to Presentation | 

February 7, 2018 |Lessons Learned from Children with ASD at Sassy Tuna Studios | Julie Lewis | Link to Presentation |

March 14, 2018 | Managing the Wait for Autism Spectrum Disorder Services in Newfoundland and Labrador: A Grounded Theory Study | Joanne Smith Young | Link to Presentation | 


October 25, 2017 |The Worktopia Project | Ann MacDougall, Coordinator, Employment Works (Worktopia) | The presentation provided an overview of a new and federally-funded program by EmploymentWorks Canada (EWC) that offers 12 weeks of employment readiness training for young adults on the spectrum who are no longer in school and are seeking opportunities to build employability. | Link to Program Information |


March 29, 2016 | "Journey to the Janeway's Autism Clinic" | Phil Murphy, MSc., Data Consultant/Analyst, Perinatal Program Newfoundland and Labrador | Link to Presentation |


October 8, 2015 | Incidence and Cohort Prevalence for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Avalon Peninsula, Newfoundland and Labrador | Dr. Roger Chafe | Link to Presentation 


February 26, 2014 | "Barriers and Facilitators to Accessing Services for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder" | Dr. Rick Audas | Link to Presentation |


November 4, 2013 | Challenges Associated with a Diagnosis of ASD | Dr. Sharon Penney | Link to Presentation | 


February 2012 | "Improving the Transitioning of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to Adult Care." | Dr. Roger Chafe | Link to Presentation |


Newfoundland & Labrador Centre for Applied Health Research

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000