McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New vision for McMaster's CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research

Published: October 1, 1998

When Linda Viscardis discovered that her six- month-old daughter had a developmental disability, she was devastated, with no idea of where to turn.

Her daughter is now 14 years old and Viscardis is co-founder of PROSPECTS (Peterborough and Region Organization for Special Parents and Exceptional Children Talking and Sharing).

About four years ago Viscardis met Dr. Mary Law, co-director of what was then the Neurodevelopmental Clinical Research Unit (NCRU) at McMaster University's Faculty of Health Sciences, who invited Viscardis to get involved in the team's work.

"This invitation changed my family forever because it gave us empowerment, hope, support and knowledge," she says.

Today, the NCRU launched its new name and vision for the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. It is not surprising that Viscardis, a parent and strong advocate for children with disabilities, came up with the new name that focuses on ability.

"The fact that this name came from a parent of a child with a disability should not surprise us, since they know better than anyone what extraordinary abilities their children possess," says Dr. Peter George, president and vice-chancellor, McMaster University.

"It is hoped that the new name will have a positive impact on our future directions by making the work that we do easier to identify and understand," says Dr. Peter Rosenbaum, professor of pediatrics, McMaster University and co-director of the CanChild Centre.

In under a decade, the CanChild Centre has become one of the world's leading centres conducting research in the field of childhood disability. Specifically, this unit identifies emerging issues for children and young people with physical, developmental and communicative conditions; conducts high-quality research; and assists in the transfer of knowledge into practice by providing accessible, user friendly information.

The CanChild Centre is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and is sponsored by the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University and the Hamilton Health Sciences Corporation and works in partnership with the Ontario Association of Children's Rehabilitation Services.

"The world is a better place because of the CanChild Centre's dedicated team of researchers. The very existence of CanChild, makes me feel that my daughter's future is secure," says Viscardis.

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