Posts Tagged "autism"


Town Talk: Million-dollar gala benefits the Canucks Autism Network

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Jill Killeen and Clara Aquilini chaired the Reveal gala in Rogers Arena that reportedly raised $1,022,000 to benefit the Canucks Autism Network founded by Clara and husband Paolo of the team-and-arena-owning family.

Malcolm Parry / PNG

HOME ICE: Reveal gala co-chairs Clara Aquilini and Jill Killeen virtually skated into Rogers Arena recently and netted $1,022,000 for the Canucks Autism Network. “We both play offence,” fundraiser Killeen cracked during a VIP reception in the Vancouver Canucks’ dressing room. Singer-comedian Lady Rizo and local Underground Circus performers entertained 600 attendees.

Artist Athena Bax spent pocket change creating her ensemble then donated a painting that raised $30,000 at a Canucks Autism Network’s gala-auction.

Malcolm Parry /


Among them was city-based artist Athena Bax, who often concocts glamorous outfits from less than some spend on hairspray. For Reveal, she crafted a top hat from scrap materials, then glued glittering gewgaws to a $7.50 Value Village jacket she ripped apart and stitched to her dress. Countering such fiscal probity, Bax also donated a floral painting titled Love is a Garden that aided the network’s youngsters by fetching $30,000 at auction.

Peter and Shahram Malek’s Millennium Development Corp restored Hastings-at-Carrall’s 107-year-old Merchant Bank Building to be better than new.

Malcolm Parry /


MERCHANT OF GASTOWN: Eighty-nine years have passed since steam locomotives hauled passenger and freight cars across the Hastings-at-Carrall intersection. Erected there in 1913, the Merchant Bank Building had its facade set back obliquely so trains could pass. The old railway right-of-way is now a triangular public space called Pioneer Place or, more often, Pigeon Park. Following years of decline, the neoclassical Merchant Bank building itself looks much as it did new, not that multicoloured nighttime floodlighting was common in 1913. Inside, following renovation by Peter Malek and brother Shahram Malekyazdi’s Millennium Development Corp., it has become technically current while retaining some marble-and-terrazzo flooring, moulded ceilings, iron staircase balustrades (there is a new elevator) and sash windows that actually open, albeit by the few centimetres now mandated. City hall wouldn’t renew the original design’s provision for four additional four storeys, but it did relent as regards a steel-and-concrete replacement for the mostly wood-framed top floor. Meanwhile, Millennium has begun a 37-rental-unit building alongside that retains the brick fascia of an 1880s structure. Oddly, the Merchant Bank building had a same-era predecessor that lasted barely 20 years. With several restaurant-bars nearby, another may occupy the street-level and lower floors. Colliers International realtors might welcome a tech firm leasing all 14,172 square feet. The peerless address — One West Hastings — would likely be an inducement.

Co-chairs Pei Huang and Judy Leung toasted a $3-million gala to end VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation’s $60-million Future of Surgery campaign.

Malcolm Parry /


SURGING FOR SURGERY: Pei Huang and Judy Leung co-chaired the Chinese Canadian community’s sixth annual Time to Shine gala that reportedly raised $3 million. That sum, including a $1-million donation from William Lin and An-Nien Lu, helped the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation close its $60-million Future of Surgery campaign, although a similar major fundraising will doubtless follow.

Wearing a Vimo Wedding gown to the VHG and UBC Hospital Foundation gala, Angela Chapman admired Beijing designer Guo Pei’s confections.

Malcolm Parry /


The happy occasion saw foundation president-CEO Angela Chapman wear a timely, shiny gown from Vancouver’s Vimo Wedding boutique. Other attendees bid on barely-there custom dresses by Beijing designer Guo Pei. Not that any wearer would feel chilled after sampling the gala’s complimentary Lion Way cocktails: brandy, rum, mescal, amaretto, red wine and five spices.

After many developments in Vancouver. Toronto, Seattle, Tokyo, etc., Westbank Projects Corp. founder Ian Gillespie is readying for a $10-billion one in Silicon Valley.

Malcolm Parry /


EVEN-BIGGER DEAL: A bullet wound to 10-year-old Ian Gillespie’s head put paid to his piano studies but didn’t impede his property-development career. Now aged 58, and often partnered by Peterson Group principal Ben Yeung, Westbank Projects Corp. founder Gillespie has completed many major developments in Vancouver and Toronto. Six are proceeding in Seattle and others in Tokyo. While checking on Westbank CFO Judy Leung’s co-chairing of the Time to Shine gala, Gillespie spoke about a bigger-still project. That’s a $10-billion, five-million-square-foot development of primarily office space on six sites in San Jose, California. With Silicon Valley giants Apple and Google nearby, the energy-net-zero scheme will approximate “half the area of downtown Vancouver,” Gillespie said. It’s as well that that bullet didn’t penetrate deeper.

PARRYNOIA: Rolls-Royce’s claim that its $500,000 Black Badge Cullinan model “delivers a theatrical dreamscape within the cabin of the motor car” may not imply that its drivers tend to fall asleep.

At a joint national-day event, New Zealand consul general Matt Ritchie congratulated honorary consul Kevin Lamb on induction to the Order of Australia.

Malcolm Parry /


DOWN-UNDER ORDER: Australia’s 23-year honorary consul, Kevin Lamb, likely sensed the irony of rainfall when he and New Zealand’s five-month consul general, Matt Ritchie, jointly celebrated their national days. Getting to the reception obliged them and guests to slosh through cascades that caused much flooding and cut road access to Hemlock Valley skiers and residents. For want of rain that day, out-of-control bushfires threatened widespread evacuation of Australia’s capital. Canberra itself earlier conferred the Order of Australia on Edmonton-born Lamb for “outstanding achievement and service.” Following his posting to Kuala Lumpur, trade specialist Ritchie is vigorously seeking New Zealand-Canada benefits from the two-year-old Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Seen with spirituality promoter Deepak Chopra, Dianne Watts had much to meditate on when her front-running B.C. Liberal party leadership bid fizzled.

Malcolm Parry /


LIB AND LET LIB: One wonders whether B.C. Liberal Liberals would need to “bid for a political comeback” (Vaughn Palmer, Sun, Feb. 4) or practice lifeboat survival had Dianne Watts been elected leader Feb. 3, 2018. The former Surrey mayor and Tory MP led through four ballots until the lack of Liberal-caucus support, horse-trading among ballot losers and non-voting by her own supporters gave Andrew Wilkinson the win.

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: The U.S. might lose it world’s-highest-imprisonment ranking if ordinary citizens faced trials comparable to their president’s.


Autistic people march for and against walk for autism in Richmond

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Breanna Himmelright, a member of Autistics United, hands out information leaflets during Autism Speaks Canada’s walk in Richmond on Sunday.

Arlen Redekop / PNG

Vivian Ly and others in the autistic community don’t need a national autism charity to speak for them. They already have voices and deserve to be listened to.

Those were among the messages Ly and other members of Autistics United had for those who came out for an annual walk hosted in Richmond on Sunday by Autism Speaks Canada, a non-profit that Ly’s group says does not represent their interests.

Scores of families attended the walk to help fundraise for the national organization, which provides resources, programming and services for autistic people and their families, and that supports autism research. The walk raised nearly $50,000, and over the years the organization has raised about $10 million for research and $5 million for family services, according to its website.

But during the walk, members of Autistics United stood on the sidelines, holding signs that read “Acceptance, not cure,” “Disability rights are human rights,” and “Autistics are speaking. Listen.” They handed out pamphlets and shared some of their concerns with some of the people who participated in the walk.

Autism Speaks Canada did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.

People take part in Autism Speaks Canada’s walk in Richmond on Sunday. Members of Autistics United, a self-advocacy group, hosted a protest at the fundraiser as they believe they should be able to speak for themselves and not seen as a tragedy.

Arlen Redekop /


Ly rejected what they termed a “deficit model” that assumed “there’s something missing in us,” and said they wanted to see the Autism Speaks logo, a puzzle piece, changed. Puzzle pieces have long been used as a symbol for autism, but there is controversy around its use because of problematic ways it could be interpreted.

They also found fault with Autism Speaks’ support for genetic research. The group has helped identify scores of genetic variations that affect autism risk, according to its website. “While that may help with an understanding about autism, there’s a huge concern about this being a slippery slope to eugenics,” Ly said.

Rather than seeking a cure for or cause of autism, there are people who could use support right now to help them thrive autistically, Ly said. As one sign put it, “Finding a gene won’t find me a job.”

Several members of the group said they did not support Applied Behaviour Analysis, a form of therapy that, as Autism Speaks Canada states on its website, has been “widely recognized as a safe and effective treatment for autism.”

Ly characterized ABA as camouflaging intended to make autistic people indistinguishable from their peers. As Sam McCulligh, another member of the group put it, ABA is “basically gay conversion therapy for autistic children.”

Brayden Walterhouse (left), a member of Autistics United, hands out information leaflets during Autism Speaks Canada’s walk in Richmond on Sunday.

Arlen Redekop /


McCulligh said one of his concerns with Autism Speaks Canada is that its leadership positions are not held by openly autistic people. In contrast, all leadership positions at Autistics United are held by people with autism.

Brayden Walterhouse said people often try to get autistic people to match society “rather than respecting our right to be different.

“They need to show love and respect for everybody and not so much of a focus on a cure to change who we are,” Walterhouse, who is deaf, said through a translator.

Breanna Himmelright said she was diagnosed with autism at two.

“I spent 16 years learning how to talk, learning how to take care of myself, learning how to more or less pass, but unfortunately I never really got a chance to figure out who I am. So much of the focus was on making me appear normal. I’m more or less here to speak up and say hey, this isn’t something to be ashamed of. I’m autistic. I’m very proud of who I am. And I hope other people can be too,” she said.

Himmelright said she wanted people to know that Autism Speaks wasn’t the only place to turn to for information. “If they want to understand their autistic kids, just talk to an autistic adult. We’re here, we’re more than happy to talk to you about our experiences. Just listen.”


Raise-a-Reader: Refugee single mom of daughter with autism grateful for literacy help

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Josephine Erhabor with daughter Sarah, 3, at their Vancouver home July 26. Erhabor is a refugee from Nigeria and attended many literacy programs after arriving in Canada, and is helping Sarah, who is autistic, to get the help she needs.

Jason Payne / PNG

When Josephine Erhabor emigrated to Canada in 2015, she not only didn’t speak English, she also hadn’t been to school at all in her life, growing up in Nigeria.

“Math was really hard,” she says. “Imagine someone never being in school. I didn’t know how to read a calendar.”

When it came time for her to enrol in a literacy program “they wanted to know what they were teaching us, but I didn’t go to school at all before I was here,” she says in the Commercial Drive apartment where she lives with her four-year-old, Sarah.

Erhabor, 24, was pregnant when she arrived as a refugee, fleeing from what she only wanted to describe as “family reasons.”

Sarah has a learning disability and the two of them are getting help with their education through the Canucks Family Education Centre (CFEC), partly funded by The Vancouver Sun’s Raise-a-Reader campaign.

Erhabor, who’s called Jo, attends the Britannia Partners in Education program, which offers English literacy and math instruction, in partnership with Vancouver school district No. 39.

She and Sarah also attend CFEC’s Grandview Get Ready to Read — GR2R — early learning program for preschoolers at the Grandview Terrace Childcare Centre (in partnership with Britannia Childcare) once a week, which also offers parenting support.

As Erhabor adapted to a new country, she was unable to carry out a simple transaction in a store because numbers were foreign to her.

“When it came to math, I wasn’t that good at counting,” says Erhabor, as an inquisitive and energetic Sarah checked out a visitor’s cameras. “But now I am able to calculate, and that’s made it easier.”

She says she was never given the opportunity to learn how to read and write until she was in her mid-teens in Nigeria. The continent’s most populated country, at 186 million, now faces a threat of breaking apart along ethnic and religious lines, according to a BBC profile. Jihadists have killed thousands over the past few years in the northeast, and some groups want to separate. Islamic law has been imposed in several northern states, causing thousands of Christians to flee.

Josephine Erhabor with daughter Sarah, 3, at their Vancouver home July 26. Erhabor is a refugee from Nigeria and attended many literacy programs after arriving in Canada, and is helping Sarah, who is autistic, to get the help she needs.

Jason Payne /


The former British colony is one of the world’s largest oil producers, but few Nigerians benefit and instability hinders foreign investment.

Erhabor wasn’t given a chance at education until about 10 years ago.

“It was when I turned 15 and then I wanted to go, but then it was a bit too late,” she says.

Her goal now is to earn her high school diploma and eventually she would like to enrol in a course so she can help seniors, perhaps as a care aide in a seniors’ home.

“I don’t want to stop there (high school graduation). Once I got my English, I want to go on. I just started (English classes) last September (at CFEC),” she says. “My reading was really bad, and it is improving.

“What I was really into was writing,” she says. “I still don’t really like math.”

Erhabor is especially grateful for the help that CFEC provided for her daughter. When Sarah was two, she was diagnosed as autistic after CFEC officials raised money from donors to pay for a private assessment, Erhabor says.

She also received help settling in Canada from other programs, including immigrants’ advocates Mosaic and the Immigration Services Society of B.C., before coming to CFEC, and is grateful for the kindness she was shown during her pregnancy and for help finding her apartment.

“I have never seen a country like this in my whole life,” she says. “They help me out to fix everything.”

And she is grateful for the chance to learn English.

“If you don’t speak English or French, how can you cope?” she says.

Since its launch in 1997, Raise-a-Reader has provided more than $18 million to promote literacy in B.C.

You can make a donation any time. Here’s how:

• Online at

• By phone, at 604.681.4199

• By cheque, payable to:


1125 Howe St., #980

Vancouver, B.C.  V6Z 2K8

CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email


Town Talk: Fishing tourney raises $800,000 for Canucks Autism Network

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Canucks Autism Network co-founder Paolo Aquilini and CEO Britt Andersen flanked winger Jake Virtanen before the Fishing For Kids tourney reportedly raised $800,00O with Virtanen hooking the prize fish.

Malcolm Parry / PNG

SPECIAL TEAM: Some Vancouver Canucks team members, owners, officials and supporters flew to Haida Gwaii’s West Coast Fishing Lodge recently and reportedly raised $800,000 for the Canucks Autism Network. The 14th annual Fishing For Kids tournament began with an Old West-style reception at Pacific Gateway Hotel where participants met 2019 “champion child” Christian Stoll, 13, who accompanied them.

Garth and Anne Stoll’s son Christian, 13, who has autism, joined Fishing For Kids participants in Hadia Gwaii as the $800,000 tournament’s “champion child.”

Malcolm Parry /


The 31.11-pound champion salmon was caught by Canucks winger Jake Virtanen who, after all, is trained to put things in the net. The fish was promptly released and, according to the tradition of winners returning their prizes, only Virtanen’s $200,000 went into the pot.

Adler University board chair Joy MacPhail joined Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin Realty at a dinner where graduate Udo Erasmus donated $500,000.

Malcolm Parry /


GOOD U TURN: Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin spoke warmly about Adler University at a dinner atop Bob Rennie’s Wing Sang Building. The private institution, which grants postgraduate degrees in counselling psychology, social justice, public policy and the like, was spun off from a 1952-founded Chicago original in 1979. The varsity’s “culture and direction are shaped by “diversity, pluralism, inclusion … and gender and economic equality,” Austin said. As well, “Students, faculty and administration are fortunate to participate in a learning culture … (that) not only values real-life community engagement but requires it.”

Austin’s remarks cheered Adler board chair Joy MacPhail who holds the same role with ICBC. MacPhail also co-owns the OUTtv network with husband and movie producer James Shavick. Fortifying his approval with hard cash, 1988 Adler grad Udo Erasmus, who founded and heads the Udo’s Choice health supplements firm, donated $500,000 to his alma mater.

Ready to leave for Rome in July, Consul general Massimiliano Iacchini and wife Sara attended the Italian Cultural Centre’s national-day festivities.

Malcolm Parry /


Laura Boldrini, the former president of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, was welcomed by Italian Cultural Centre executive director Joan D’Angola Kluge.

Malcolm Parry /


ROAD TO ROME: Local community members filled the Italian Cultural Centre hall for National Day celebrations that included ample food and ballroom dancing to Italy’s visiting Orchestra Casadai. The event was a figurative last waltz for Consul General Massimiliano Iacchini and wife Sara. After four “very enriching” years, they’ll leave in July for 24 months in Rome before his next posting. He was congratulated by Italy’s former Chamber of Deputies president Laura Boldrini, who had earlier addressed Women Deliver conference delegates here.

Admiring a low-slung Alfa Romeo roadster at an earlier Italian Cultural Centre event, Ezio Bortolussi recently built Western Canada’s tallest tower.

Malcolm Parry /


Bidding the Iacchinis farewell, city-based Newway Concrete Forming president Ezio Bortolussi recently completed the Stantec tower in Edmonton’s Ice District that, at 251 metres, is the tallest west of Toronto.

Abigail Rintoul, five, is enrolled at Montessori-themed Little Kitchen Academy where she expects to expand upon her existing cookie-baking skills.

Malcolm Parry /


STOVE TOTS: Brian and Felicity Curin opened a school for three-to-teens at 10th-off-Dunbar recently. Their Montessori-themed Little Kitchen Academy teaches culinary skills, mostly in five three-hour sessions costing $300 to $375. The event was a second educational launch in the neighbourhood for co-president-COO Felicity Curin’s family. Her father, Clive Austin, was private West Point Grey Academy’s founding headmaster. Little Kitchen co-president-CEO Brian Curin founded such chain retailers as Cold Stone Creamery and Flip Flop Stores. He rebounded from a heart attack at age 38 and now chairs the Heart & Stroke Foundation of B.C. & Yukon.

Executive Group principal Salim Sayani and wife Farah opened the Exchange hotel’s Hydra Café & Bar that features a public-art terrazzo floor.

Malcolm Parry /


LOOKING UP: Getting high in a bar is one thing. But what if the bar itself is high, with a ceiling 18 metres above a swirling-patterned Italian terrazzo floor that is a bonafide piece of public art? Such is the case at the 9,000-square-foot Hydra café and bar in the EXchange Hotel. That 202-room hotel occupies the 1929-built Vancouver Stock Exchange building where speculative securities were pumped sky-high one day and sank basement-low the next. North Vancouver-born Executive Hotels & Resorts principal Salim Sayani, who opened Hydra, owns the nearby Soleil hotel, 11 others in Canada and three in the U.S. His 72-room SeaSide Hotel and spa will open imminently in the Lower Lonsdale district where wife Farah recently chaired a $1.2-million gala for Lions Gate Hospital.

Dr. Dan Renouf attended Hanna Molnar’s at-home reception for those supporting B.C. Cancer’s vision for a pancreatic cancer rapid-access clinic

Malcolm Parry /


UNENDED JOURNEY: As a girl seeking refuge from Russia’s advancing Red Army, Hanna Hoyos-Molnar walked across Hungary and Austria “with everything I owned in a little bag.” Today, she hopes fellow Canadians will put pancreatic cancer behind them. At her Shaughnessy home recently, Hoyos-Molnar hosted a reception to support the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s participation in a rapid-access clinic for pancreatic-cancer patients. Of the 700 Canadians diagnosed annually, many have Stage IV ailments that cannot be cured. Screening methodology for early onset has yet to be found. Still, Pancreas Centre B.C. co-director Dr. Dan Renouf, who addressed reception guests, believes that success will come “in five to 10 years.”

ANMORE BEFORE: That recent rambunctious party wasn’t the first celebratory event to be held on Anmore acreage. Late Greenpeace co-founder-president Bob Hunter, who resided there, drew an equally large crowd — but no helicopters or exotic cars — to his 50th-birthday party in 1991. As one buckskin-jacketed, guitar-toting greybeard ambled past, Hunter said: “Y’know, we used to be out saving the planet, and now we’re trying to hang on to our hair and our teeth.”

DOWN PARRYSCOPE: While vying with Pinocchio in a nose-growing contest, certain global leaders may recall a predecessor with a curious moustache and haircut who proclaimed that ordinary folk accept big lies as readily as small ones.

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Job fair breaks down employment barriers for Canadians living with autism

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For people living with autism spectrum disorder, getting a job comes with specific challenges.

“I would always get stymied at the interview stage,” said Katherine Shadwick, who has a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering but struggled to get a foot in the door after graduation.

That’s because Shadwick, who is on the autism spectrum, says she can have trouble connecting with the subtext of what is being said.

“If you tell me one thing and don’t make it very obvious that you’re saying it in a sarcastic manner, for example, I might not pick up on the sarcasm and might take it for face value,” she told Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC’sThe Early Edition.

During a traditional interview, that makes it much more difficult to sell herself to a potential employer and highlight her skills, she added.

“People with autism usually end up being misjudged in a way:  I do have friends, I empathize, I have lots of emotions,” Shadwick said.

“I was just having trouble finding jobs because of that people connection [in the interview].”

Alternative interviews

After partnering with a professional services firm that helps connect people who are on the spectrum with employers and facilitates the interview process, Shadwick found a job as a software tester at Vancity credit union.

“They see if your personality is a good fit, and then they give you some pre-employment classes and additional testing, and then they match you with an employer,” Shadwick said.

“I never did an interview directly with Vancity.”

She’s speaking about her experience — and ways to improve the workplace and jobs market for people with different abilities — at a Spectrum Works job fair in Richmond, B.C., on Monday.  

According to a 2012 Canadian Survey on Disability, adults with autism have the lowest employment rate in Canada at just 14 per cent — compared to the general population at 93 per cent.

“People that are on the spectrum are highly intelligent,” Shadwick said.

“Sometimes, we need more structure and clearer expectations but, once we get something, we get it and we’re good.”

Katherine Shadwick is a software tester and lives with autism spectrum disorder. Heather Linka is neurodiversity employment consultant. The two are speaking with people at the Spectrum Works job fair, to get those with ASD get a job. 8:45

‘Intentional autism hiring’

Heather Linka, a neurodiversity employment consultant and employer coordinator with the job fair, works with people including Shadwick to break down employment barriers in the IT sector.

Adjustments in the hiring process and accommodations in the workplace can be put in place for what she calls “intentional autism hiring.”

“We recommend things like skill-testing questions or a more casual meet-and-greet environment rather than the [traditional] interview,” Linka said.

On the job, accommodations could include things like tailoring the sitting arrangement in open-desk environments or making some sensory adjustments in places with fluorescent lighting.

Clear expectations and communication are key, Linka emphasized.

“Generally, it’s just mindfulness and education on both sides,” she said.

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1 of 3 who viciously beat man with autism freed after months behind bars

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One of three men found guilty of attacking a man with autism at a Mississauga bus terminal is set to walk free on Wednesday.

Ronjot Singh Dhami, 25, was given a 12 month sentence today at a Brampton court after previously pleading guilty to aggravated assault. However, he was given credit for time served in custody, so he has already done his time.

At the court appearance, Dhami apologized to the victim and his family, although said he knows “it won’t be accepted.” 

Dhami and two other men were captured on security camera punching and kicking the 29-year-old victim repeatedly as he sat on a stairway last March.

All three men were arrested in connection with the incident, although it’s unclear when the others —  Jaspaul Uppal and Parmvir “Parm” Singh Chahil, both 21 — will be sentenced.

Dhami, who moved from Surrey, B.C., to Ontario to pursue work as a truck driver, will be on probation for two years and banned from possessing prohibited weapons for life.

His lawyer declined to speak with reporters.

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Vancouver study shows air pollution linked to possibility of autism

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Prenatal exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased likelihood of autism, according to a recently published Vancouver-based study.

Arlen Redekop / PNG

Prenatal exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased likelihood of autism, according to a recently published Vancouver-based study.

Lief Pagalan, a Simon Fraser University researcher, conducted the birth cohort study in Metro Vancouver using birth data from 2004 through 2009.

The study analyzed air pollution to assess exposure rates over the same period and found that there was an increased risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in children when their pregnant mothers were exposed to air pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide.

The impact, however, was small and not statistically significant.

“Our study, which indicates that air pollution is associated with ASD in a city with relatively lower levels of air pollution adds to the growing concern that there may be no safe levels of exposure to air pollution,” said Pagalan.

“While the causes of ASD are not yet fully known, this study suggests that reducing exposure to air pollutants in pregnant women could reduce the likelihood of their children developing autism.”

The findings are similar to those of previous studies conducted in the United States, Israel and Taiwan.

Pagalan noted that the study is important as it highlights that “there may be no safe levels of exposure to air pollution.” While the cause of autism is not fully known, researchers acknowledge that genetics and environmental factors play a role.

The study was conducted by linking pregnancy data with birth records in Vancouver from 2004 through 2009, alongside medical records of children up to the age of 5.

The study, Association of Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution with Autism Spectrum Disorder was published in JAMA Pediatrics this year. It was conducted with the involvement of the following people and agencies:

• Celeste Bickford
• Whitney Weikum
• Bruce Lanphear
• Michael Brauer
• Nancy Lanphear
• Gillian E. Hanley
• Tim F. Oberlander
• Meghan Winters
• Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
• Centre of Hip Health and Mobility
• School of Population and Public Health, UBC
• Department of Pediatrics, UBC
• Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, BC Children’s Hospital
• BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
• Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UBC
• Population Data BC

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