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Kathleen O’Grady

Research Associate, Simone de Beauvoir Institute, Concordia University and Managing Editor, EvidenceNetwork.ca; autism mom

Kathleen O’Grady is a Research Associate at Concordia University, Montréal, and a political and media strategist, with clients in government, think tanks and NGOs. She has two sons, one with autism.
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Why Kids With Autism Are More Likely To Drown

A new American study has confirmed what every autism family has heard anecdotally: Accidental death by drowning is a significant risk for kids with autism. Researchers at the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University looked at more than 39 million death records over a 16-year period (up to 2014) to determine the relationship between autism and death by injury.
06/09/2017 05:53 EDT
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Medical Expenses You May Not Know Are Eligible For The Medical Tax Credit

As Canadians we like to take pride in our publicly funded healthcare system, but the truth is many of us -- especially those with or caring for someone with disabilities or chronic conditions -- pay out of pocket for a wide range of essential health services. Studies show Canadians pay as much as 30 per cent of our health needs privately.
03/22/2016 12:31 EDT
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5 Things That Happen When I Write About My Child With Autism

I'm not entirely sure why I write about my personal experiences parenting a child with autism for the mainstream media. Mostly I hope my own experiences may help someone else on their autism journey -- and they won't stumble through, as I have done in the early days. But what I'm never quite prepared for are the letters I get whenever I publish something about autism in the mainstream press. Here are a few responses that never fail to happen.
03/09/2016 11:34 EST
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Why It's Time For A National Autism Strategy

It's not an exaggeration to say we have an autism services crisis in Canada. Evidence shows that proper health and educational supports for those affected by autism pay off. Early intervention is key and heads off more expensive and extensive supports that are needed later in life if early intervention is not provided.
01/12/2016 04:24 EST
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3 Ways The Federal Government Can Improve The RDSP

The Registered Disability Savings Plan is a savings plan that helps parents and caretakers of those with a disability save for their loved one's long-term financial future with some financial contributions coming directly from the government -- free money, in other words. So why are so few using the RDSP?
01/04/2016 04:15 EST
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3 Things You Need to Know About Autism in Canada

Many organizations and affected families across the country have been calling for a national autism strategy. The wide range in disparity of publicly funded services for autism across the country has even generated a kind of "medical migration" with several published accounts of families leaving their home provinces (most commonly, Atlantic provinces, Ontario and Quebec) to move to Alberta or British Columbia where autism services are more readily available and/or more flexible. It is also no longer uncommon to find Canadian families using crowdsourcing campaigns to fund their children's autism and related therapies.
07/31/2015 05:32 EDT
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Almost No One From My Son's Class Came to His Birthday Party and it Broke My Heart

"It is with sadness that we will have to decline the birthday party invitation for your son," one mother wrote me, "as such short notice was given." I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Again. You see, my son Casey has autism, and I had been busily planning all the arrangements for his seventh birthday party for weeks. I wanted to tell her, in earnest, that I had tried, I really tried, to get it right this time.
05/10/2015 11:15 EDT
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How a B. C. Court Case May Threaten Canadian Healthcare

A case emerged in response to an audit of Cambie Surgeries, a private for-profit corporation by the B.C. Medical Services Commission. The audit found from a sample of Cambie's billing that it (and another private clinic) had charged patients hundreds of thousands of dollars more for health services covered by medicare than is permitted by law. Dr. Day and Cambie Surgeries claim that the law preventing a doctor charging patients more is unconstitutional.
04/24/2015 12:58 EDT
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What My Child With Autism Has Taught Me

It was an ordinary summer day. People were milling on the main thoroughfare, bikes zig-zagging through traffic, cafés and pubs spilling onto the sidewalk, patrons sipping their way through a lazy Friday afternoon. We were ordinary that day too. Just another family, managing the hectic jumble of kids' lessons, bills, our careers, endless streams of birthday parties, too little sleep and the occasional date night out. But it was all shattered with a single word: autism.
10/17/2014 05:28 EDT
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Five Things Most People Get Wrong About Canada's Health Care System

A recent court challenge before the British Columbia Supreme Court threatened to change the rules of the game for the Canadian healthcare system -- should the challenge have made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada and found success there. How our health system should be reformed, and in what measures, is nothing short of a national pastime in Canada. Too bad many get the facts wrong. Here are a few basics everyone should know.
09/16/2014 08:59 EDT
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3 Ways You Can Help Families Affected by Autism

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day, and April is World Autism Awareness month. Unfortunately, it's no longer uncommon for most of us to know families struggling just to keep up with the day-to-day tasks required of them because they have a child with autism. Here's how you -- as a family member, friend, neighbour or even just as a friendly acquaintance or concerned citizen -- can help families affected by autism.
04/02/2014 12:36 EDT
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How To Talk To a Child With Autism

Contrary to popular belief, most kids with autism are not anti-social. Yet, many 'neurotypicals' still struggle when it comes to including a child with autism in the conversation. Those that do try, often fail because they don't know a few essential rules that can help make the interaction possible.
12/19/2013 06:23 EST