Photo: Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey Michelle Hunsche, a KPU graduate who is the project co-ordinator, working with a girl at the Lifespan Cognition Lab at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey. KPU and the Centre for Child Development have partnered together for a study to to better understand the way children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and autism cope in social settings. They are now looking for participants. The child in the photo does not have FASD or autism.


KPU Surrey, Centre for Child Development partner on fetal alcohol syndrome project

Research to better understand social behaviours

Kwantlen Polytechnic University and the Centre for Child Development have partnered together for a research project “to better understand the way children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and autism cope in social settings.”

FASD and autism, according to a news release from KPU, are both brain-based disorders and “people with these disorders may have difficulties with social interactions.”

The project is looking for children diagnosed with FASD and autism to take part in the research which involves an hour of monitored play and interaction between the children and the research assistants. Registration is now open.

KPU and the Centre for Child Development hope to finish collecting data by December, 2019.

Dr. Daniel Bernstein, the principal investigator and a psychology instructor who heads the Lifespan Cognition Lab at KPU Surrey, said children with autism are known to have problems understanding someone else’s perspective in social situations.

“We want to know if children with FASD have a similar kind of problem taking perspective or if they do better,” he said in the news release.

Michelle Hunsche, a KPU graduate who is the project co-ordinator, said in the release that while there is a lot known about autism, there’s isn’t much known about FASD and how it impacts children’s abilities to socially relate to other people.

The Centre for Child Development employs more than 150 professionals who provide services to 3,000 children with special needs each year, reads the release. By partnering with KPU on the project, according to the release, the centre hopes to “quickly translate scientific findings into new services and resources to benefit children with special needs in the Lower Mainland.”

The research project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Engage grant and is supported by the Canada Research Chairs program.

For more information about the program or to participate, visit or call 604-599-2162.

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