Community Connections Inspire Samsung Canada and Autism Speaks Canada

Original news provided by Samsung Electronics Canada, Apr 29, 2019, 12:31 ET

TORONTO, April 29, 2019 /CNW/ – Samsung Canada and Autism Speaks Canada (ASC) today launched their annual technology program in support of individuals with autism and their families. Now in its fifth year, the partnership has donated over 2,000 Samsung devices to families and service organizations and aims to raise awareness of autism in Canada, bringing a deeper understanding of how technology can impact the lives of families living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – a condition affecting one in 66 Canadian children and youth.*

Community Connections Inspire Samsung Canada and Autism Speaks Canada (CNW Group/Samsung Electronics Canada)

Powered by Autism Speaks Canada’s new CONNECT website  – Canada’s first, online multi-faceted platform for the autism community, Samsung will donate 500 new Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 tablets and tablet covers to Canadians through the technology program.

“We are excited to continue this popular program and are thankful to our partners at Samsung Canada for their generous support. CONNECT is Canada’s first multi-faceted virtual platform designed to engage and inform the autism community, providing easy access to services, resources and community groups across Canada. Bringing together the technology program and CONNECT is a natural fit to strengthen community connections,” said Jill Farber, Executive Director, Autism Speaks Canada.

ASC’s CONNECT platform, which launched late 2018, is designed to engage, inform and build connections within the autism community, offering access to reliable information and services in both English and French. As ASC’s technology partner, Samsung Canada is committed to bringing this powerful community resource to even more Canadian families through Samsung devices. 

“Samsung’s ongoing commitment to the autism community is anchored in creating meaningful connections and greater communications through technology,” said Jennifer Groh, Director, Corporate Citizenship and Communications, Samsung Canada. “We look forward to the new ways our technology will empower community connections across Canada, inviting Canadians to share their stories, resources and tools through the CONNECT platform.”

The 500 Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 tablets will come with three-months’ access to Samsung Kids, an easy to explore subscription-based app from Samsung featuring child-friendly content for all ages, designed to help children learn as well as play through technology.

To learn more, donate or participate in the technology program, Canadians can visit The technology program runs until May 20, 2019. For specific inquiries, please contact [email protected].

*’Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children and Youth in Canada 2018′

About Samsung Electronics Canada Inc.
Samsung Electronics Canada inspires Canadians to reach their full potential through a transformative ecosystem of products and services that deliver innovation and distinct design to every aspect of their connected lives. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, virtual reality and wearable devices, tablets and digital appliances. In 2019, Samsung was ranked as one of Canada’s “Most Admired Brands” in Leger’s Corporate Reputation Study.” “Best Global Brands” list. Dedicated to helping make a difference in the lives of Canadians, Samsung’s award-winning corporate giving initiatives support public education and health-related issues in communities across the country. To discover more, please visit

Follow Samsung Canada at, or Instagram @samsungcanada or Twitter @SamsungCanada

About Autism Speaks Canada:
Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families by supporting and working with community partners; enhancing resources and services; increasing understanding, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.

To learn more about Autism Speaks Canada please visit or join the social conversation @AutismSpeaksCAN.

About Autism Speaks Canada CONNECT:
Autism Speaks Canada CONNECT is Canada’s first, multi-faceted virtual platform designed to engage and inform the autism community. CONNECT provides easy access to services, resources and community groups across Canada. CONNECT is free to use and operates in French and English. Learn more at

About Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Autism, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication. We now know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, and each person with autism can have unique strengths and challenges. Causes include a combination of genetic and environmental influences, and many are accompanied by medical issues such as gastrointestinal disorders, seizures and sleep disturbances. It is estimated that 1 in 66 children and youth are diagnosed with autism in Canada.

SOURCE Samsung Electronics Canada

For further information: Katelin Onishi, North Strategic Public Relations, [email protected]

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Six Autism Speaks studies on 2018 list of top advances in autism

Focus on transition to adulthood and genetics reflects priority research goals

April 26, 2019 (NEW YORK) – A federal autism panel this month released its selections of the top 20 advances in autism research for 2018, the 2018 IACC Top Advances in Autism Spectrum Disorder Research.

Six of the studies were funded by Autism Speaks’ science program, which provides direct grant funding and administers the Autism Treatment Network (ATN).

Studies are selected by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), a federal advisory committee of officials from agencies that work in autism research and services, covering a range of topics from biology and genetics to treatments and health policy.  

Findings on the list spanned a range of research topics and help our understanding of autism, including:

  • Sensory behaviors linked to autism are present in children as young as 12 months.
  • Emotional regulation in people with autism may be related to differences in how the amygdala, an emotional center in the brain, changes from childhood into adulthood.
  • Genes linked to autism may affect how neurons function and communicate in individuals with ASD.
  • Changes in gene expression strongly linked to autism were passed to children by their fathers in a small subset of individuals with autism.
  • Teens and young adults with autism need continued health care follow-ups and screenings with adult health providers because they are more likely than typical adults to have medical and psychiatric conditions in addition to autism.
  • Adults with autism who live at home with a caregiver are less likely to get services they need than those living independently or in a supported living facility. Helping caregivers learn about available services may be one way to reduce care gaps for adults with autism living at home.

“The studies we funded that were selected by IACC reflect our mission to better understand the causes of autism as well as see breakthroughs that can help families right now, in particular families who have children that are aging out of pediatric health care,” said Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Tom Frazier. “We are incredibly proud of these advances and grateful for the work of our volunteers and donors who made them possible.”

IACC selects its annual list of advances as part of its mandate by the Autism CARES Act of 2014 to improve coordination and communication about autism in partnership with the autism community.

For more information about the IACC’s publications and activities, visit

Studies from the IACC selections that were funded by Autism Speaks:

Understanding Service Usage and Needs for Adults with ASD: The Importance of Living Situation.

Dudley KM, Klinger MR, Meyer A, Powell P, Klinger LG. J Autism Dev Disord. 2018 Aug 25.  [Autism Speaks research grant 8316]

Psychiatric and Medical Conditions in Transition-Aged Individuals With ASD. Davignon MN, Qian Y, Massolo M, Croen LA. Pediatrics. 2018 Apr;141(Suppl 4):S335-S345. [Autism Speaks research grant 9749]

Complete Disruption of Autism-Susceptibility Genes by Gene Editing Predominantly Reduces Functional Connectivity of Isogenic Human Neurons. Deneault E, White SH, Rodrigues DC, Ross PJ, Faheem M, Zaslavsky K, Wang Z, Alexandrova R, Pellecchia G, Wei W, Piekna A, Kaur G, Howe JL, Kwan V, Thiruvahindrapuram B, Walker S, Lionel AC, Pasceri P, Merico D, Yuen RKC, Singh KK, Ellis J, Scherer SW. Stem Cell Reports. 2018 Nov 13;11(5):1211-1225. [Autism Speaks MSSNG project]

A longitudinal study of parent-reported sensory responsiveness in toddlers at-risk for autism.

Wolff JJ, Dimian AF, Botteron KN, Dager SR, Elison JT, Estes AM, Hazlett HC, Schultz RT, Zwaigenbaum L, Piven J, IBIS Network. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2019 Mar;60(3):314-324. Epub 2018 Oct 23.  [Autism Speaks grant 6020]

Neuron numbers increase in the human amygdala from birth to adulthood, but not in autism.

Avino TA, Barger N, Vargas MV, Carlson EL, Amaral DG, Bauman MD, Schumann CM,

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Apr 3;115(14):3710-3715. Epub 2018 Mar 20. [Autism Speaks Autism Tissue Project, now Autism BrainNet]

Paternally inherited cis-regulatory structural variants are associated with autism.

Brandler WM, Antaki D, Gujral M, Kleiber ML, Whitney J, Maile MS, Hong O, Chapman TR, Tan S, Tandon P, Pang T, Tang SC, Vaux KK, Yang Y, Harrington E, Juul S, Turner DJ, Thiruvahindrapuram B, Kaur G, Wang Z, Kingsmore SF, Gleeson JG, Bisson D, Kakaradov B, Telenti A, Venter JC, Corominas R, Toma C, Cormand B, Rueda I, Guijarro S, Messer KS, Nievergelt CM, Arranz MJ, Courchesne E, Pierce K, Muotri AR, Iakoucheva LM, Hervas A, Scherer SW, Corsello C, Sebat J. Science. 2018 Apr 20;360(6386):327-331. [Autism Speaks MSSNG project]


The Canada Council for the Arts Reveals the 2019 Killam Program Winners

A prestigious program rewarding Canada’s scholars

Ottawa, April 25, 2019 – Today, the Canada Council for the Arts revealed the winners of the 2019 Killam Program, comprised of the Killam Prizes and the Killam Research Fellowships. Awarding nearly one million dollars every year, the Program is one of the most prestigious to reward Canada’s researchers, whose work has a tremendous impact on all our lives.

“Thanks to their outstanding contribution to the development of artificial intelligence, the fight against antimicrobial resistance and the analysis of political party and elector behavioural patterns, the winners and recipients have helped further our understanding of the world  we live in. Their audacity and perseverance are an inspiration to us and are helping us build a better future for everyone.”

– Simon Brault, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

“Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam’s historic bequest in honour of the memory and exceptional nationwide achievements of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam, has helped build Canada’s future in the fields of engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences and the humanities. The 2019 Killam Prize winners join an elite group of researchers and we warmly welcome the award recipients to the Killam family as we celebrate their passion, drive, and creativity in building Canada’s future through advanced study.”

– Bernard F. Miller, QC, Managing Trustee, Killam Trusts

The  Killam  Program  winners  will  be  celebrated  in Ottawa  on  May  21,  2019,  as  part  of  Canadian Innovation Week.

The Killam Prizes

The Killam Prizes honour eminent scholars in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences and engineering. These outstanding scholars actively contribute to groundbreaking research and their advances have positive impacts on our lives. They each receive a $100,000 prize.

The 2019 prize winners are:

  • Natural SciencesYoshua Bengio, from the Université de Montréal, is known as one of the world’s foremost experts in terms of artificial intelligence and is a deep learning pioneer. As the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Learning Algorithms, he is the founder and scientific director of Mila, the Institut québécois d’intelligence artificielle, the world’s largest deep learning university research group. In 2019, he is co-recipient of the A.M. Turing Prize, considered the “Nobel Prize for Computer Science,” which he receives jointly with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun.
  • Social SciencesAndré Blais is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the Université de Montréal, where he is the Research Chair in Electoral Studies. He led the Making Electoral Democracy Work project, which examined the behaviour of parties and electors in 25 elections across five different countries. He is a worldwide expert in electoral studies.
  • EngineeringKeith W. Hipel is a professor of systems design engineering at the University of Waterloo. He is globally renowned for his unique interdisciplinary research from a systems engineering perspective on the development of conflict resolution, multiple criteria decision analysis, time series modelling and other decision-making methodologies for addressing complex system-of-systems problems lying at the confluence of society, technology and the environment, with applications in water resources, environmental engineering, energy and sustainable development.
  • Health Sciences Dr. Stephen W. Scherer, from the University of Toronto, has revolutionized our understanding of the human genome through his research at the Hospital for Sick Children. He founded the Database of Genomic Variants, the world’s most-used CNV database, which facilitates thousands of clinical diagnoses around the world every day.
  • HumanitiesLynne Viola, from the University of Toronto, is an internationally-renowned specialist in the history of the Soviet Union. Her research focuses on mass repression in the 1930s. She is known for the publication of Stalin-era archival documents, unprecedented work to ensure these documents remain in the public domain. She is the author and editor of multiple books, including The Unknown Gulag and Stalinist Perpetrators On Trial (Oxford  University Press). Inducted into the Royal Society of Canada in 2014, she received the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize in 2018.
The Killam Research Fellowships

The Killam research fellowships provide outstanding scholars across all disciplines with two years of release time from teaching and administrative duties so they can carry out large-scale, widespread interest research projects. The total amount of the fellowships over two years is $840,000.

The 2019 research fellowship recipients are:

  • Matt Dobbs, McGill University – Project: Unveiling the Cosmos with a New Paradigm Digital Radio Telescope
  • Dennis Hall, University of Alberta – Project: A Green Chemistry Blueprint for Direct Catalytic Functionalization of Feedstock Alcohols
  • Catherine Sulem, University of Toronto – Project: Nonlinear Partial Differential Equations: Wave Propagation in Fluids, Optics, and Plasmas
  • Marten van Kerkwijk – University of Toronto – Project: Probing Extreme (Astro)Physics with Neutron Stars
  • Xiao  Yu  (Shirley)  Wu  –  University  of  Toronto  –  Project:  Smart  Nanomedicine  Combo  for Treatment and Diagnosis of Diseases in the Brain
  • Andrei Yudin – University of Toronto – Project: Boroscan: A Platform for Discovery of New Boron-based Antimicrobials

Learn more about the Killam Program

  • The prestigious Killam Program encompasses the Killam Prizes and the Killam Research Fellowships.
  • The winners and recipients are selected by a committee of their peers.
  • The Killam Prize was first awarded in 1981.
  • Previous winners include renowned scholars such as Brenda Milner, Victoria Kaspi, Mark Wainberg, Molly Shoichet, John Borrows, and Nobel Prize winners Arthur McDonald and John Polanyi—to name but a few.
  • The Canada Council received a donation through the will of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in 1965 to establish a fellowship program (1967).
  • In total, the Killam Trusts are valued at approximately $500 million, of which the Canada Council portion is currently about $70 million.
About the Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.

Media contacts

To book interviews with the winners and recipients:

Charlene Coy, C2C Communications Cell phone: 416-451-1471  [email protected]

Canada Council for the Arts:

Joly-Anne Ricard

Public Relations and Social Media Advisor Telephone: 1-800-263-5588 (extension 4166) Cell phone: 343-998-2627

[email protected]



Light It up Blue With Autism Speaks Canada to Increase Global Understanding & Acceptance of People With Autism



Global landmarks including Canada’s CN Tower, Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square and Niagara Falls to light up blue on World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2019
Photo Assets Available for Download. Images courtesy of Tourism Toronto and Niagara Parks

WHAT: Autism Speaks Canada invites friends and neighbours around the globe to illuminate their buildings blue and help increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). To kick off this campaign, Canada’s tallest tower, CN Tower and Toronto Sign at Nathan Phillips Square will light up blue on Tuesday, April 2 at sundown 7:45pm. The Niagara Falls Illumination Board will also be supporting this campaign and will illuminate both the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls in blue for 15 minutes, at 10pm.

Join us in celebrating April 2nd and the whole month of April. There are so many ways to show your support:

  • Light It Up Blue: Join the movement, increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism by lighting up your homes and offices blue
  • Share Blue: Submit, share and explore stories across the spectrum through an online image mosaic and on social media using #LightItUpBlue @AutismSpeaksCanada and @AutismSpeaksCan
  • Wear Blue: Gear up to show your blue pride throughout April
  • Give Blue: Donate to support the cause
  • Raise Blue: Start a Facebook Fundraiser and invite your friends to join the cause

WHO:  Interviews are available upon request

WHEN: Tuesday, April 2, 2019
CN Tower: Lights to switch on at sunset 7:45pm till 11pm. Best to view the CN Tower Light It Up Blue half an hour after that to see it in full glory. Reminder: as it does every night, a standard light show will run for 8 minutes at the top of CN tower every hour.
Niagara Falls: Falls Illumination in Blue to begin at 10pm for 15 mins.
Toronto Sign at Nathan Phillips Square: Lights to switch on at 6pm till 6am the next day.

WHERE: CN Tower: 301 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 2T6
Toronto Sign: Nathan Phillips Square, 100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Niagara Falls: Both the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls, can be viewed from Queen Victoria Park, Niagara Falls, ON

WHY: Autism Spectrum Disorder affects 70 million people globally. Approximately 1 in 66 children and youth are diagnosed with ASD in Canada[i]. World Autism Month is an important time to have a dedicated conversation about Autism. In 2008, The United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared April 2nd as World Autism Awareness Day – many countries around the world light up their landmarks and monuments blue to increase understanding and acceptance of people with Autism. In 2012, the Canadian Parliament passed the World Autism Awareness Day Act recognizing April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day[ii]. Autism Speaks Canada is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for people with autism.

Learn more and join the conversation:

  • Website:
  • Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn @AutismSpeaksCanada
  • Twitter @AutismSpeaksCan

Media Contact:
Sarah Ahmed
Director, Marketing & Communications
Autism Speaks Canada
2450 Victoria Park Ave, Suite 400, Toronto, OM M2J4A2
(647) 241-7746 (mobile)
(416) 362-6227 ext. 208
[email protected]


i Autism Spectrum Disorder Among Children and Youth in Canada 2018, Public Health Agency of Canada, March 2018



Response to the Ontario Autism Program (OAP)

Autism Speaks Canada (ASC) is a leading national organization dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.  We do this by supporting and working with community partners; enhancing resources and services; increasing understanding, acceptance and inclusion of people with autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder.

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social communication and interaction; and restrictive patterns of behaviour.  The expression and intensity of these core features vary greatly between individuals.  As such, there is no single treatment for autism — rather, the recommended types, intensity and duration of treatments are highly individualized.

Following the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services’ announcement regarding the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP), Autism Speaks Canada strongly encourages that the province revise the program and consider the following key principles:

  • Service provision is equitable based on individualized assessments of clinical need and sufficient across the spectrum and throughout the life span
  • A focus on evidence-based interventions provided by appropriately trained and credentialed providers
  • Program development includes inter-ministerial accountability including health, social services, community, education, etc.

Autism Speaks Canada will continue to work with autism stakeholders and governments to support timely, comprehensive, and appropriate services and supports for individuals with autism and families.  Families needing more information on the OAP can visit the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services website.

Jill Farber
Executive Director
Autism Speaks Canada