Our research team
Our research team includes autistic people, as well as various professionals who have been collaborating since 2016.
Who we are
Rich in our various areas of expertise, together we rely on experiential knowledge. In this way, we develop knowledge, skills and resources for autistic people and their families, as well as for health professionals. Let’s make introductions.
She’s a specialist in public health and preventive medicine at the CHU Sainte-Justine and assistant clinical professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at the École de santé publique de l’Université de Montréal. She’s also a researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine and a member of the Réseau pour transformer les soins en autisme. For almost 10 years, she has devoted part of her practice to the field of autism. Dr. Valderrama has served on several provincial autism tables, such as the Réseau national d’expertise en TSA and the Comité d’engagement communautaire du Réseau pour transformer les soins en autisme. She works primarily on the social determinants of mental health and quality of life for autistic people and their families such as social support, health literacy and addressing autism stigma. In addition to her expertise as a population health physician, she’s the mother of a young autistic adult. She puts social inclusion into practice by collaborating with autistic people in all her autism projects. For her, it’s impossible to discuss autism without including the people concerned in the discussion.
For almost 10 years, she has been collaborating on autism research projects, as a co-investigator or expert consultant. She’s also a speaker, blogger and author. She’s the first peer helper certified by the undergraduate microprogram in mental health: mentorat pour pairs aidants, given by the Université de Montréal. She has also been involved for more than 10 years in the autistic community. She’s the co-founder of two organizations: Aut’Créatifs, an organization of autistic people fighting against prejudice and misinformation about autism, as well as the Coalition de parents d’enfants à besoins particuliers du Québec. She’s also the mother of a young autistic child.
Jennifer Cohen Reyes
Autism Together research coordinator, she holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology—behavioural neurosciences since 2018 and a master’s degree in research in psychiatry since 2021. She’s interested in improving health services in the field of opioid use disorders. Her master’s thesis focused on the accessibility of mental health services for people suffering from chronic pain. She brings her expertise to the field of autism with the aim of improving the service offer for the people concerned.
Baudouin Forgeot d’Arc
He has worked in autism for more than 10 years as a child psychiatrist and head of the psychiatry and neurodevelopment clinic at the CHU Sainte-Justine, associate professor at the Université de Montréal and researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine. His field of expertise extends from cognitive neuroscience to social interactions in autism. Over the past few years, he has developed expertise in the field of the social determinants of health of autistic people such as quality of care, accommodation or stigma. Dr. Forgeot d’Arc is also director of the ECHO® mental health and neurodevelopment telementoring program, an online training program for professionals. This program brings together for 8 sessions a multidisciplinary group of 60 professionals from all regions of Québec. In addition, he’s a founding member, head of the clinical-research integration committee of the Réseau pour transformer les soins en autisme, a thematic network of the Fonds de recherche Québec—Santé which brings together more than 80 researchers across Québec.
Child and adolescent psychiatrist, she’s Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal, Head of the Department of Psychiatry at CHU Sainte-Justine, President of the Comité de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent du Collège royal des médecins et chirurgiens du Canada and Vice President of the Académie canadienne de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent. Dr. Amirali is an experienced medical director whose expertise with autistic people and their families is well established. She also has expertise in the administrative management of care and a master’s degree in management (IMHL) from McGill University.
She’s currently studying for a master’s degree at McGill University. Her research project focuses on the factors that have influenced the capacities of young people with a neurodevelopmental condition and those of their families to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Her goal is to bridge the gap between what the evidence tells us and the reality of our clinical, community and political spaces. As the older sister of a young autistic man, she wants to become a neuropsychologist to help young autistic people and their families cope with their diagnosis. She also wants to continue collaborating on research projects that help improve their quality of life.
He has been working as a research collaborator, co-investigator, expert consultant, speaker and blogger on autism for almost 10 years. He’s also co-author of various scientific publications. He has several years of collaborative experience in a research environment, both in scientific research and in various scientific committees, including the scientific committee of the ECHO® santé mentale en neurodéveloppement program. As an autistic person with a mental health profile, he’s also co-author of a free interpretation of the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for autism. In addition, he’s a member of the Comité d’engagement communautaire du Réseau pour transformer les soins en autisme. On a personal note, he’s one of the original administrators of Aut’Créatifs, an organization of autistic people fighting against prejudice and misinformation in autism.
She’s an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa. She has expertise in patient-provider communication, interaction analysis methods to inform clinical practice and collaborative community research. She collaborated on a project to develop a social support platform for parents of autistic children. She also participated in the development of training for healthcare professionals in telemedicine based on consultations with simulated patients. Her expertise on the relationship issues of autistic people with their families and health professionals is a major contribution to our research projects.
To consult our publications
Rapport de recherche : Consultation de parents d’un enfant atteint d’un TSA et développement d’une plateforme numérique leur offrant un soutien social.
Renaud L, Caron-Bouchard M, en collaboration avec Valderrama A. Rapport de recherche : Consultation de parents d’un enfant atteint d’un TSA et développement d’une plateforme numérique leur offrant un soutien social. Com Santé UQAM, 2018.
Cherba, M., Thoër, C., Turbide, O., Denault, V., Renaud, L., Valderrama, A., Courcy, I., Cordelier, B., Laquerre, M.-E., Cyr, C., Hovington, J., & Muloin, C. (2019). Le soutien social en ligne comme mode d’intervention psychosociale?: Revue de littérature, pistes de recherche et recommandations pour les intervenants. Santé Publique, 31(1), 83.
Les enjeux de littératie dans la communication aux parents du diagnostic de trouble du spectre de l’autisme chez l’enfant. Santé mentale au Québec.
Valderrama, A. Courcy, I. Weis-Heitner, L.et Forgeot d’Arc, B. (2020). Les enjeux de littératie dans la communication aux parents du diagnostic de trouble du spectre de l’autisme chez l’enfant. Santé mentale au Québec.
For autistic persons by autistic persons: Acceptability of a structured peer support service according to key stakeholders.
Valderrama, A., Martinez, A., Charlebois, K., Guerrero, L., & Forgeot d’Arc, B. (2022). For autistic persons by autistic persons: Acceptability of a structured peer support service according to key stakeholders. Health Expectations: An International Journal of Public Participation in Health Care and Health Policy.
Croiser les perspectives pour mieux informer en autisme: Entre ce que les professionnels veulent dire, ce que les parents veulent savoir et comment les adultes autistes veulent que l’on parle d’eux.
Courcy, I., Valderrama, A., Weis-Heitner, L., Giroux, M., Guerrero, L., Thermidor, G., Laporte, L., & Forgeot d’Arc, B. (2021). Croiser les perspectives pour mieux informer en autisme: Entre ce que les professionnels veulent dire, ce que les parents veulent savoir et comment les adultes autistes veulent que l’on parle d’eux. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 40(2), 104–119.
Person-reported perspectives on support availability for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec.
Valderrama, A., Lajoie, X., Armstrong, M., Luizar-Obregon, A., & Kraus de Camargo, O. (2022). Person-reported perspectives on support availability for people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Quebec. Canadian Journal of Public Health = Revue Canadienne De Sante Publique, 113(6), 834–845.
Portrait de la stigmatisation et de l’acceptation des personnes autistes et de leurs proches au Québec. Rapport de recherche remis à l’OPHQ et au FRIS.
Valderrama A, Forgeot d’Arc B, Guerrero L, Giroux M, Courcy I. (2023). Portrait de la stigmatisation et de l’acceptation des personnes autistes et de leurs proches au Québec. Rapport de recherche remis à l’OPHQ et au FRIS.