Top Scholars Helping Improve Lives for People with Autism

“The future of Ontario is dynamic and changing, and the rapid pace continues to present new challenges. As autism spectrum disorders (ASD) continue to rise, Ontario’s universities are committed to educating and training the highly skilled researchers who are essential in finding new ways to treat the disorder and provide support to our communities in building a better future for Ontario.

Autism is now the fastest growing and most commonly diagnosed neurological disorder in Canada and the prevalence of ASD has doubled over the last decade. One in 68 children are currently diagnosed with ASD, while mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression are common in individuals with ASD and their families.

Through the 2017 Autism Scholars Awards, administered by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU), two university scholars – Rebecca Shine and Karen Black, both of York University – will receive awards of $20,000 and $18,000 respectively. The work of these Ontario researchers will lead to a better understanding of the way parents and children with ASD influence each other, improve treatment planning for children with ASD and provide better supports for families and communities across the province.

Autism has a profound effect on the lives of children and their families. This university-led research is essential in the evolution of health care in Ontario and the province’s capacity to tailor treatments and approaches to autism depending on the individual needs of children and their families.

Ontario’s universities are proud to work with our partners to educate and train tomorrow’s future makers, while helping to develop and maintain our robust health-care system. We commend these individuals for expanding the bounds of knowledge about autism, and in this way helping to build a brighter future for Ontario.”

David Lindsay
President and CEO
Council of Ontario Universities

To learn more about this year’s Autism Scholars Awards recipients, click here.

Find out more about the Autism Scholars Awards here.


COU is the voice of Ontario’s universities, promoting the value of education, research and innovation that leads to social, cultural and economic success.

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For further information, please contact:

Wendy McCann
Director, Strategic Communications and Media Relations
416-979-2165 x233
647-271-0825 (cell)
Email Wendy McCann