Ongoing Projects

Learning and productivity of data entry by adults with intellectual disabilities (ID)

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effect of self-instruction on learning of data entry and the combined effect of differential reinforcement of high rates of behavior (DRH) with self-instruction on the productivity of data entry. Specifically, the goals are to assess whether (a) self-instruction is an effective teaching technique for a complex ability (data entry) for adults with ID and (b) if the implementation of DRH makes it possible to increase productivity at a socially significant level.

Evaluation of the ”See Things My Way” assessment centre and longitudinal follow-up of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families

Ministry of Health and Social Services and Miriam Foundation, 2015-2020

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the implementation of the four components of an operating model planned by the clinic. The results obtained (number of assessments completed, waiting time, types and number of diagnoses made) and the results based on the parents’ perspective (satisfaction vs information received, trajectory and quality of services received) are evaluated. A longitudinal follow-up (4 years) is completed to provide a description of the developmental profile of each child diagnosed with ID/ASD/GDD and the profile of their families. The services trajectory (description and quality) is also studied.

The clairvoyant brain: sensitive neurodevelopment predictors

Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autistic spectrum disorder and intellectual disability, affect over 10% of Canadians. These disorders are usually diagnosed late in development, leading to increased severity and chronicity. This longitudinal study aims to examine the relationship between brain structure, brain activity in early childhood and neurodevelopment. To achieve this, a longitudinal follow-up will be conducted with young children, from birth to 4 years of age (3 visits: 3-6 months, 24 months and 4 years). The early development of brain structures will be examined using transfontanelle ultrasonography, a noninvasive technique for obtaining images of an infant brain. Brain growth will also be assessed by measuring head circumference, a commonly used measure to estimate brain volume. Cerebral activity during learning tasks will be examined using electroencephalography, and child development will be evaluated through questionnaires and neuropsychological tests. Hence, this study will help identify early markers of abnormal brain functioning associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, which in turn could facilitate early diagnosis.

Screening tools for neurodevelopmental comorbidities associated with developmental coordination disorder

Developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is frequently associated with other neurodevelopmental disorders, mainly attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and learning and communication disorders. This project aims to evaluate the usefulness of certain screening tools in the detection of neurodevelopmental disorders associated with DCD in children in order to identify relevant tools and thus to improve evaluations and services for this population. Therefore, our first evaluation will aim to assess the usefulness of the Behavioural Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF) in the detection of comorbidities associated with DCD.

Using the Prevent-Teach-Reinforce (PTR) Model to Support Teachers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Problem Behaviors

Financed by CRSH Institutionnel-Université de Sherbrooke

This project aims to: a) assess the fidelity of implementation of the PTR model in a specialized school environment; b) establish the effects of the PTR model on problem behaviors, positive social behaviors and school engagement for students with ASD in a specialized school context; c) establish whether children’s behavioral gains are maintained at follow-up (3 months later); and (d) explore the potential effects of decreased problem behaviors on teachers’ sense of personal competence and feelings of burnout.

Implementation and evaluation of the Early Childhood Behavior Support program in a child care setting for children from low-income, single-parent families

This project aims to evaluate the implementation of a universal intervention program targeting the organization of physical, social, educational, biomedical and logistic supports, which are necessary in order to improve of quality of life through reduction of problem behavior in children under the age of five, living in a context of adversity. This project is carried out in collaboration with Boscoville, a non-profit organization, which implements prevention and intervention strategies adapted to the challenges faced by children and young people in different contexts.

Workforce integration of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): Evaluation of an employment support program and exploration of the integration process

This project evaluates the impact of the workfoce integration services offered by Action main-d’oeuvre, created for individuals with ASD (without intellectual disability). The goals are to (a) describe the clinical and social characteristics of the organism’s clients and employers as well as the nature of the organism’s services and (b) to understand the links between the clients’ and the program’s characteristics and the time needed to find employment in addition to the links between the client’s, employer’s and program’s characteristics and the duration of employement.

The process of integrating a new employee with ASD into a business when receiving services from Action main-d’oeuvre will also be studied. This will be completed through single-case experiments, investigating the manager’s experience during the employment process, the training and the supervision of the new employee.

Barriers and facilitators for access to diagnostic services and service utilization among ethnocultural minority families whose children have autism spectrum disorder

Quebec Research Fund for Society and Culture (FRQSC) – Grant Program – New Professors-Researchers and National Consortium for Research on Social Inclusion (CNRIS), 2015-2019- Program Grant to Support the Emergence of New researchers in academia.

The overall objective of this project is to document the barriers and facilitators experienced by immigrant families whose children have an ASD during the period of infancy (0 to 6 years). This project aims to: a) identify barriers and facilitators in diagnostic services of ASD; (b) identify barriers and facilitators for accessing and using intervention services; and (c) obtain the views of families regarding their satisfaction with available services. This project is expected to be completed in 2019.

Assessment of the implementation and efficiency of the Lily Butters House

The Montérégie-Est Rehabilitation Center for individuals with Intellectual Disabilities and Pervasive Developmental Disorders (CRDI Montérégie-Est), with the financial support of the Butters Foundation, has developed a residential resource that offers a service of assessment and stabilization for severe problem behaviours/ This resource, the Lily Butters House, temporarily hosts people with intellectual disabilities or pervasive developmental disorders and severe behavioral disorders. It offers highly specialized services based on best practices that help highlight the variables involved in the onset of the behavioral disorders. The objective of this project is to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of the services offered at the Lily Butters House with the intention of making recommendations to improve present interventions. This project will also aim to verify if this type of evaluation-reorientation resource offers advantages over other types of existing services.

Investigation of the mechanisms of brain plasticity in typically developing individuals, individuals with intellectual disabilities or diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder

The purpose of this study is to examine the underlying mechanisms that cause cognitive and behavioral dysfunction in patients with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder, using electrophysiological and behavioral measures. We are interested in diagnostic profiles such as fragile X syndrome, SYNGAP1 mutation, trisomy 21, tuberous sclerosis of Bourneville and autism without intellectual disability. This study is exploratory in nature. Participants are between 5 and 30 years old. Data obtained from patients will be compared with those obtained from control participants (typical development) matched by age and gender. The study will allow the identification of learning biomarkers in individuals with these neurodevelopmental disorders.

Screening for neurodevelopmental disorders in newborns using 3D ultrasound

In neonates, ultrasound is the initial neuroimaging modality used to detect and follow up on intracranial pathologies, since MRI is challenging due to immobilization, cost and sedation issues. Ultrasound is typically acquired in 2D and interpretations are performed slice by slice. However, recent reports suggest a longitudinal follow-up of structure volumes and shapes may be relevant for investigation of neurodevelopmental disorders. The first objective of this study is to test the diagnostic efficiency of the 3D ultrasound technology to measure total brain volume as well as lateral ventricular volume compared to volumetric measurements obtained from MRI. Then an image registration is done between Ultrasound and an MRI atlas in order to automatically extract information of the region of interest. This will allow us to do 3D volume segmentation of the ventricles with 3D ultrasound images, which is easier than using MRI from a clinical perspective.