On Friday October 20th 2017, the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA) hosted its first Autism Conference, with the theme of “Collaboration Across the Spectrum and Across the Age Span”. MacART Co-Director Dr. Stelios Georgiades was invited to give the keynote presentation, entitled “Tracing Autism’s Trajectories Can Help Explain Its Diversity”.
Dr. Georgiades’ program of research investigates development trajectories in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Presenting findings from his research studies, such as the Pathways in ASD Study, Dr. Georgiades discussed how children with ASD have different strengths and challenges that vary across domains and over time, and that models of care should reflect that dynamic variability. Further fitting in with the day’s theme, he also discussed the need for interdisciplinary collaboration through strategic partnerships and funding. One example of such teamwork is the upcoming Pediatric Autism Research Collaborative (PARC) Project, a partnership between researchers and clinicians in embedding a research protocol into clinical practice.
The day’s other presentations included discussions on early interventions, collaboration between professionals, agencies, and parents, and building strong partnerships, along with remarks from the Minister of Education, Mitzie Hunter. The OSLA Autism Conference was a wonderful example of how through strong, strategic, interdisciplinary collaborations, autism care can be enhanced.