Statement from MacART on World Autism Awareness Day 2022

Autism Care



“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of ASD but also include data about functioning, participation, and environmental barriers and facilitators.”

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo  //  Developmental Pediatrician


MacART is laying the foundation for creating a systematic way of linking scientific research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at McMaster University to clinical practice at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The physical proximity of McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University has a number of characteristics that provides the rare opportunity for collaborative research. Taking advantage of existing university and clinical infrastructure and cross-appointments for clinicians at the university, ASD experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate ASD research into clinical practice.

The focus of MacART members’ research is in the areas of basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, epidemiology and statistical modelling, knowledge translation and exchange, and social science research. By promoting the collaboration of stakeholders across disciplines, MacART is reducing barriers to implementing research in clinical practice, with the goal of advancing autism care through meaningful research.

Learn more about our research HERE.


MacART members are now supervising more than 50 research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, and are engaged in the mentoring of junior and intermediate faculty members.

In the future, we intend to establish research and clinical training programs for students in McMaster’s undergraduate medical, health sciences, and psychology programs, and for residents and fellows in Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

By training and mentoring emerging researchers and practitioners, we will help to solidify their understanding of and commitment to using basic science to inform their clinical practice, and to use their clinical experience to help formulate research questions. It is our belief that involving these learners in MacART educational activities will promote their use of practices that advance autism care through meaningful research.


“Our scientists are working collaboratively with local clinicians to generate the evidence needed to improve autism services. This symposium is a great example of McMaster’s community engagement efforts.”

Dr. Patrick Deane // President & Vice-Chancellor // McMaster University


The community engagement component of MacART strives to work with stakeholders and involve them as partners in every step of the research process.  By doing so, the questions that drive research begin to change. They become more meaningful because they address the real day-to-day challenges faced by children and their families, and the clinicians supporting them.

MacART aims to increase participation and involvement of members of the McMaster and Hamilton communities in the research process. With community members driving the research, new and relevant knowledge can be produced to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD and advance autism care through meaningful research.


“People whose lives are connected to the challenge of autism can share knowledge – from clinicians to educators to parents – and what an amazing opportunity that is. We have a real opportunity to translate challenges into research, and research into practice that will help families living with autism.”

Rob MacIsaac  //  President & CEO // Hamilton Health Sciences


Policies should be created using the best available evidence that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals with ASD, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about ASD treatment funding.  Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many ASD experts, MacART is set to act as a highly credible source of evidence-based information to influence and inform public policy about the provision and funding of ASD diagnosis, treatment, and family supports.

MacART will continue to find ways to collaborate with policymakers to both learn more about the policymaking process, and to contribute our expertise and knowledge to inform policymaking, in order to advance autism care through meaningful research.

April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day – an internationally recognized day to continue raising awareness of autism spectrum disorder, and to promote acceptance and inclusion for the over 75 million autistic people across the globe. In Canada, the latest statistics (PHAC, 2022) tell us that 1 in 50 children and youth aged 1 to 17 are diagnosed with autism, highlighting the necessity and importance of creating an inclusive world.

As always, the McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART; is excited to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, kicking off World Autism Month. MacART is a partnership between McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University that aims to bridge the research-to-practice gap in autism. MacART is designed to foster collaboration among the families, researchers, clinicians, educators, and policymakers whose lives and work are touched by autism.

The theme of this year’s World Autism Awareness Day is inclusive education, tied in closely to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #4 - ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, as the foundation for improving people’s lives and reducing inequalities. Ensuring quality inclusive education for people on the autism spectrum is essential; a report recently released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (February 2022) noted that more than 75% of Canadian autistic children attending school had special education needs (compared to just 13% of those without autism). The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in school closures over the past two years, impacting an estimated 90% of students worldwide and disrupting learning that has only exacerbated inequalities in education.

MacART member Dr. Magdalena Janus focuses her research on early child development – including investigating children’s developmental health at school entry. Her work has shown that, even before receiving a diagnosis, children diagnosed with autism by age 9 show observable and meaningful differences in kindergarten classroom behaviours. Population-level research has indicated that most children diagnosed with autism by school entry show challenges as measured by the Early Development Instrument (EDI), which is highly predictive of their later academic and adjustment pathways – but research also showed that factors such as higher neighborhood advantage was associated with lower levels of these developmental challenges. The EDI is a tool that can be used to explore such social determinants of health and assess programs that prepare children for school.

In collaboration with McMaster Children’s Hospital and its regional partners, the EDI will be used in their new Entry to School Program to measure the extent to which this school readiness program helps young children, their families, and their educators, smoothly transition into school. “We know that development in kindergarten is a powerful predictor of children’s later social behaviour, academic achievement, and even health,” says Dr. Janus, Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. “This is a unique opportunity to assess how such school readiness programs can help provide a successful transition to school.”

MacART is proud to be supported by our partners:

  • McMaster Children’s Hospital & McMaster Children's Hospital Research Collaborative
  • Hamilton Health Sciences & Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation
  • McMaster University

​Click here to download a copy of this statement.