Dr. Jessica Brian - 2016 to 2018
Holland Bloorview

"Predictors of Mental Health Outcomes in High-Risk Siblings of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: From Infancy to Middle Childhood"

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a heritable and lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder that's characterized by social-communicative impairment and restricted and repetitive behaviour. ASD affects 1% to 1.5% of school-aged children, which translates to about 30,000 children in Ontario (100,000 in Canada). More than 80% of children and youth with ASD also suffer from other mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This study has one main objective: to identify differences very early in development that can help us predict which children will have mental health challenges when they get older (in particular, with anxiety and ADHD). Building an understanding of the earliest signs of these disorders may help us design strategies for early detection and intervention. By providing intervention very early in development, our hope is to prevent the poor outcomes that are common in this high-risk group.