MAY 2011:

ASD-CARC Welcomes Summer Students 


This summer, ASD-CARC is welcoming several Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) students from Queen's University to the team. The SWEP program allows students to learn about their subject of study while offering the unique opportunity to contribute to the Queen’s research community. ASD-CARC is excited to have a diverse team of students with many different talents and from various disciplines. The funds for these positions come in part from donations to ASD-CARC to “train the next generation of ASD researchers and clinicians” and to teach students about ASDs. This year’s students have a keen interest in Autism Spectrum Disorders and will spend the summer working on a number of different projects related to their studies and our overall research.  See below to learn more about the students and their projects.

The Translation Team

The “Translation Station”, as we like to call ourselves, consists of Mehek Ali, Nina Vatne and Savita Rani.  Mehek is an international student from Pakistan, majoring in Psychology and minoring in English Literature at Queen’s. She is interested in clinical social work and how culture impacts disabilities. Nina is also an international student, from Norway, and is studying biomedical computing. She enjoys learning more about the genetic aspects of ASDs. Savita comes from Sarnia, Ontario and is majoring in Life Sciences.  She is interested in how and why health issues are perceived differently from culture to culture. 

Currently we are working on translating ASD-CARC’s website and surveys into the following languages: Urdu, Norwegian, Spanish, Serbian and Filipino. Chinese and French have already been completed by SWEP students from the previous year.  We believe this is integral to helping expand ASD-CARC’s research on a global scale and getting a more global impression of the characteristics and needs of families and individuals with ASD.  We hope that this initiative will help further our understanding of genetic and cultural factors that may affect the development of ASDs. To read more about our translation project click here.

We are looking forward to a wonderful summer at ASD-CARC and getting to know Research Registry participants better, working with those of you who would like to help with some of the translations!  More on how you can help in next month's Newsletter.

The Research Registry Team

The Research Registry students this summer are Meagan Berlin, Dana Lowi-Merri and Brittany Baird. We are responsible for the organization and maintenance of  our participant database, and we are really looking forward to making contact with various families who have chosen to participate in our ongoing research projects. We are finding our new jobs to be very interesting and challenging but, most of all, rewarding. We greatly appreciate the dedication of all of the families involved in ASD-CARC research.

Genetics Laboratory

The laboratory students this summer are Cindy and Nissi. We are studying Life Sciences and going into fourth year and third year respectively. We have both had previous laboratory experience and are very excited to be working in a lab involving DNA extraction and genetic analysis of saliva and blood samples. Cindy and Nissi have many common interests including good food and bad puns. We look forward to a great summer of learning and collaboration at ASD-CARC, and receiving more samples from families this summer.


The computing student this year is Geoff Halliday, a student in the biomedical computing program. He is continuing the work from previous years in modifying our database, using problem solving skills, to make the storage and retrieval of questionnaire and genetics data easy and efficient. He is also working on incorporating bioinformatics-- the application of statistics and computer science to the field of molecular biology-- into our research. In addition to his day-to-day responsibilities he is the on-call tech support for all of our other students! He is called upon to remedy everyday technical difficulties and to lend guidance to those who are less computer-savvy.  

Good News Corner  


At the Good News Corner we Celebrate the Abilities of People with Autism. These stories are truly inspiring! Please send us your stories for future Newsletters!


Kaitrin Beechey, a celebrated artist, makes an appearance at Queen's Park

On April 2, Kaitrin was recognized in the Ontario Legislature in a statement that Minister Laurel Broten, Ministry of Child and Youth Services, made to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day. Kaitrin was invited to attend as Minister Laurel Broten's guest in the Member's Gallery. To read about this charming and very talented young lady with Asperger's, click here. She has her own website at:

(Good News Correspondents: Karen Beechey, Kaitrin's proud Mom and Jeanette Holden, proud to be a friend of Kaitrin's and who would like to add that Katrin's work has such fantastic (as in fantasy) qualities, that she transports you to a thoughtful and happy world of peace and loving.)

Kim Peek - the real Rain Man!  

If you've seen the movie Rain Man, with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, you may be interested in Kim Peek - he's the "original Rain Man".  Click here to view an excerpt of a documentary about Peek. 

(Good News Correspondent: Nancy Miles)

Questionnaire Highlight: Aggression Survey


Aggressive behaviors towards others, objects, and self, which constitute the core of challenging behaviors, are major intractable problems reported in 30% to 60% of persons with intellectual disabilities (ID).  Many of these persons have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Aggressive behaviors interfere with education and socialization because they lead to exclusion from schools, programs, and community activities. Aggressive behaviors are also responsible more


We know little of the biological mechanisms that predispose some people to develop aggressive behaviors. Understanding these factors may help lead to the targeted development of effective treatments.  The current featured questionnaire is one on aggression.  We invite you to complete our aggression questionnaire, whether or not your child engages in these challenging behaviors, in order to further our understanding of this topic. Please login to your account to complete this questionnaire.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Ira Cohen, the author of the Aggression Survey.

Thank you for contributing to our endeavor! 

How to login to your research account

Go to and click "Login". If you can't remember your login information just click "Forgot your Username or Password?". You will be prompted to enter your email address. You will then receive an email with your username and a temporary password you can change after you have logged in. Please remember that if you have received this email you already have an account and do not need to create a new account. 

Contacting us 


1-866-273-2272 (Toll-free within NA) | 613-548-0156 (Kingston and area) | 604-875-3023 (Vancouver and area)

1-888-556-6057 (Toll-free within NA) | 613-548-8385 (Kingston and area) | 604-875-2145 (Vancouver and area)

ASD-CARC, c/o Autism Research Program
191 Portsmouth Avenue, Queen’s University
Kingston, ON K7M 8A6, Canada

Thank you for your continued participation and support!

  Jeanette Holden, ASD-CARC Program Director

"Together We Will Discover a Better Tomorrow."