2017 Autism Scholars: Bios

Doctoral Award

Rebecca Shine, York University

Rebecca Shine’s research focuses on parent and child outcomes in families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her research will examine the factors that have an impact on the well-being of children with ASD and their parents, to gain a better understanding of how they influence each other. ASD affects children and their families in many different ways. These differences can result from factors within a child, their parents and families, or the treatments and supports they receive. As she pursues a doctoral degree in Clinical Developmental Psychology at York University, Rebecca hopes this research will lead to a better understanding of the way parents and children with ASD influence each other, improve treatment planning for children with ASD and provide better supports for families.

Master’s Award

Karen Black, York University

Karen Black’s primary research involves the study of mindfulness training for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD can experience difficulties interpreting how bodily sensations connect to one’s emotions. Mindfulness-based therapy can help children to “tune in” to bodily sensations through techniques such as noticing, describing and acceptance. Since little is known about how mindfulness-based therapy contributes to change for youth with ASD, Karen hopes to study physiological changes during mindfulness practice to improve understanding of the impact mindfulness activities can have on children with ASD. Karen is completing her first year as a master’s student at York University, studying Clinical Developmental Psychology with a specialization in neuropsychology.