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Schachar Lab

Province of Ontario Neurodevelopmental Disorders (POND)

  • Principal Investigator: Evdokia Anagnostou
  • Co-principal Investigator: Paul Arnold
  • Co-Investigators: Russell Schachar, Peter Szatmari, Stephen Scherer
  • Collaborators at SickKids site: Jennifer Crosbie, Alice Charach  
  • Sponsor: Ontario Brain Institute (OBI)

About POND

There are more than 300,000 children and youth in Ontario with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), and intellectual disability (ID). Although the field has made significant gains in the treatment of some of these disorders, our ability to change long-term outcomes remains limited. There are not many medications to treat these disorders, and those that exist are only partially effective and have side effects, particularly in children. Thus, there is a clear and urgent need for new and better targeted therapies including behavioural and psycho-social interventions.

To address these gaps, the POND Network brings together a multidisciplinary team of scientists, clinicians, engineers and community stakeholders who share the goal of improving the long-term outcomes for children with ASD, ADHD, OCD and ID. This network will perform biomedical research studies aimed at understanding these disorders, and will create, for the first time in Canada, a clinical trials network that specializes in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, in order to speed up the development of new and more effective medications and psycho-social interventions.

Research Goals of POND

The POND Network will develop and employ new technologies in the fields of genomics, imaging and biomedical engineering to improve the understanding of the biological mechanisms contributing to these disorders. Using these technologies, the POND Network will create a province-wide database of participants with ASD, ADHD, OCD and ID to learn more about these disorders. The POND Network will help lead research into practice by creating the first Canadian paediatric clinical trials network to target neurodevelopmental disorders. This will aid in the development of new, more effective medications and other interventions to help children affected by these disorders.

Moving Knowledge into Practice

The POND Network will create a system for transferring knowledge related to neurodevelopmental disorders to the right people, at the right time and in the right format. This will be achieved by developing and supporting collaborations between researchers, clinicians, policy-makers and parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders in Ontario. Emphasis will be placed on analyzing and communicating new research advances through presentations, meetings, websites, newsletters and scientific reports in a way that helps new knowledge transition into improved policies and practices for children and youth with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. By doing this we hope to: (a) increase awareness and knowledge around neurodevelopmental disorders; (b) support Ontario’s health researchers, clinicians and policy-makers in their efforts to better understand and implement evidence-based treatments for these conditions; and (c) improve health outcomes and quality of life for children and youth with neurodevelopmental disorders in Ontario, Canada and around the world.

For more information on POND, please see: http://www.pond-network.ca

*NOTE: The POND Network is currently recruiting participants.*

Criteria for participation:

  • Children between ages 6 to 17 years old
  • A confirmed diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) made by a family physician, paediatrician, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. 

If your child is eligible (determined by a screening interview), we will schedule you and your child for a visit. Please note: No clinical service will be provided as part of your research participation.

For more information or to participate, contact Tara Goodale, Clinical Research Project Manager by phone at 416-813-6568 or by email at tara.goodale@sickkids.ca