About Building Community Capacity for Neurodivergent Individuals (BCCNDI)
In this brief video presentation, Navigational Project directors, Dr. Lucy Lach and Dr. David Nicholas introduce the key components of the project. They convey how shared learning has emerged as a result of working together within and across jurisdictions. They also demonstrate how this journey has moved us forward toward integrated navigational pathways in our quest to better ensure timely and needed services for children with neurodisabilities and their families.
In addition, below you will find a conversation about navigation and building community capacity in navigation with Mezaun Lakha-Evin, both a parent advocate and the Director of Government Relations and Advocacy for Cerebal Palsy in Alberta.
David Nicholas, PhD
Dr. David Nicholas, PhD, RSW, is Professor and Associate Dean (Research and Partnerships) in the Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary; and is cross-appointed to the Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta. His research addresses quality of life, navigation, family support, parenting, and family-centred care in neurodivergence. Dr. Nicholas has founded and directs the Vocational Abilities Innovation Lab in the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Calgary which seeds innovative and promising practices. He was work recently was awarded the University of Calgary’s Sustainability Award for his impactful initiatives. Dr. Nicholas has led multiple projects focused on understanding and contributing to quality of life among families in which a child has a neurodisability. He is the lead investigator focused on understanding pandemic-related impacts on families, and supporting system advancement, including advancing care processes and service access for children with health issues and/or developmental disabilities. He has developed and tested multiple initiatives using technology solutions and service advancement in the aim of better services and supports for families.
Lucyna Lach, MSW, PhD
Dr. Lucyna Lach is an associate professor in the School of Social Work and an associate member of the Departments of Pediatrics, Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. Her program of research has two main streams. The first focusses on documenting social determinants of living a life of quality among neurodivergent children, youth and young adults their families, and the second focuses on the co-construction of systems of care that promote navigation of, and access to, supports and services needed by them. Dr. Lach’s projects addressing social determinants have documented caregiver health, parenting, income trajectories, educational outcomes, and utilization of health services by children and their caregivers. Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Kids Brain Health Network (KBHN), and using administrative and clinical databases, this work has revealed the heightened challenges faced by this population in the Canadian context. Dr. Lach is also collaborating with Dr. David Nicholas (University of Calgary) to increase capacity across and within government and nongovernment organizations to create more transparent and effective pathways of care. Organizations that families must navigate access to have come together in Vancouver, Edmonton, Watson Lake (Yukon), and Montreal, to collaborate and innovate through program development and training. In addition, she is part of a Strategic Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Team entitled CHILDBRIGHT, and is co-leading (along with Dr. Patrick McGrath from IWK) a randomized control trial entitled Parents Empowering Neurodiverse Kids: Strongest Families – Neurodevelopment. This project is evaluating a web-based parenting program that combines group coaching and educational modules, with parent-to- parent support for parents of neurodivergent children who also have dysregulated behaviour. Dr. Lach is a peer-reviewer for numerous journals as well as organizations who provide funding in this area of research.
Jeffrey McCrossin, MSW, MScA, PhD(C)
Jeffrey McCrossin is a licensed social worker, couple and family therapist and psychotherapist. He’s also a PhD candidate at the School of Social Work and a lecturer in family therapy at McGill University. He also operates a small private practice. Jeffrey’s research is focused on pathways of family resilience in paediatric neurorehabilitation and is funded by SSHRC, the FRQS as well as several research networks and philanthropic organizations, including CHILD-BRIGHT, the Kids Brain Health Network, the Azrieli Foundation, and the Transforming Autism Care Consortium.
Rosslynn Zulla, PhD
Rosslynn Zulla is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work. As a trainee within the Kids Brain Health Network National Centre of Excellence in Childhood NDD, she has been involved in key publications that broaden understanding in the experience of navigation and promote the health and well-being for children with neurodisabilities and their families. She is currently working on a project exploring Canadian parent peer support groups for families of children with neurodisabilities as well as another project exploring ways to support immigrant and refugee families of children with neurodisabilities.
Samantha Sutherland is a Research Coordinator at the University of Calgary, Faculty of Social Work. She worked for three years with mental health research pertaining to Army Servicemembers and university students as a Research Admin/Assistant at Harvard Medical School . Samantha joined U of Calgary in February of 2022 and has created this website to assist both professionals and families in their journey navigating through neurodivergent services and resources. She has also assisted in the publication of The Community Guide.
Key Partners by Province & Territory
Yukon partners also include:
- Yukon Interagency Network on Disability
- Watson Lake Interagency Committee
- Yukon Interagency Hiring Committee
- FASD Interagency Committee
- YT Gov’t: Department of Justice