Statement from MacART on World Autism Awareness Day 2021

Autism Care



“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of autism 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 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, autism experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate autism 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 autism 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 Autistic individuals, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about autism supports/service funding. Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many autism 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 autism diagnosis, services, 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 – a day to continue raising awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorder and to promote acceptance and inclusion for the 70 million individuals living with Autism Spectrum Disorder around the globe. In Canada, 1 in 66 children are diagnosed with Autism, highlighting the importance of creating a more inclusive world for our next generation.

The McMaster Autism Research Team (MacART; is excited to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. 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 COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyone’s lives in different ways, including having serious consequences for employment. It can be difficult for people with Autism to find regular, supportive employment, and these challenges are likely exacerbated by the pandemic. With the theme of this year’s World Autism Awareness Day focusing on the importance of workplace inclusivity and inclusive employment programmes, particularly in light of the pandemic, we want to recognize the MacART members who are contributing to such research efforts. Research led by MacART trainee Irene O’Connor and supported by MacART members Drs. Briano Di Rezze and Geoff Hall, and their teams, are building evidence on the importance of specialized support roles, such as job coaches; their work has outlined key characteristics that job coaches provide in supporting youth and adults with Autism in the workplace.

“This pandemic has challenged us to keep progressing our Autism research in ways that adapt to our new environment,” says Dr. Di Rezze, Associate Professor in McMaster University’s School of Rehabilitation Science, whose research focuses on examining the impact of interventions on participation in everyday life –  including employment. “Keeping our research focus on employment and Autism has been important because finding and maintaining jobs in this pandemic has been especially challenging for people with Autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.”

MacART is continually forming and strengthening collaborations with our partners to help build frameworks that can better support families and promote an inclusive world for those on the spectrum. These efforts build toward our goal of advancing Autism care through meaningful research.


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.