Selected Projects / Pacific Autism Family Network: Autism Spectrum Disorder Research in BC 2016/17

Following the success of the first year of our partnership with the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) and the Health Design Lab are once again partnering for a research and design project during the 2016/17 year.

Through our co-creation work in 2015/2016 we saw a keen interest from families and researchers to connect with one another through participatory workshops. Also, at the BC Autism Research Blue Sky Meeting, there was a clear interest in fostering communication between researchers and families. One of the priorities identified at the meeting was so “build two-way communication between researchers and parents of individuals with ASDs so parents can express their interests in research and researchers can explain their research initiatives” (Report from the BC Autism Research Blue Sky Meeting, 2016, p.7), and to “listen to families and individuals with ASD to discover their research priorities” (Report from the BC Autism Research Blue Sky Meeting, 2016, p.6).

With these objectives in mind, students and faculty have begun to expand upon previous work.  During the first phase of the project students and faculty are working towards leading a large public co-creation event at the official launch of the new PAFN facility in November. This intent is to engage visitors, including families and researchers to the new PAFN building.  For this project’s second phase, in January 2017 we will be facilitating co-creation workshops with families of individuals with ASDs as well as ASDs researchers in Vancouver and outlying centres. The primary goal of these workshops will be to generate meaningful dialogue and foster understanding between researchers and families.

This project is a partnership not only with PAFN and MSFHR but also the University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and BCIT.

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