Owerko Centre Neurodevelopmental Clinical Rounds

The Owerko Centre is pleased to present a monthly series of rounds focusing on the neurodevelopmental research and clinical practice. Please click on the menus below to find recorded versions of past rounds.

Owerko Centre Neurodevelopmental Clinical Rounds



Details coming soon


Dr. Kara Murias, MD, PhD, Paediatric Neurologist, Alberta Children's Hospital; Assistant Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary

Erin Gineot, NDD Research Database Coordinator, Owerko Centre; Masters Student, University of Calgary

Predicting Cerebral Palsy: Promise and Pitfalls

1. Review the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy
2. Discuss risk factors for Cerebral Palsy
3. Discuss the ability to predict which babies will be affected with CP and the pitfalls for
CP prediction


Dr. Mary Dunbar, MD, Paediatric Neurologist, Alberta Children’s Hospital,; Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Subject: Neurodevelopmental genetic conditions: care and investigation of children

Talk title: Looking at the forest and the trees: Canadian position statement for genetic testing in developmental disorders and local research initiatives

1. Review the evolution of clinical research addressing diagnostic yield and clinical utility of
genetic testing in neurodevelopmental disorders
2. Review highlights from the new Canadian College of Medical Geneticists position statement
on genetic and metabolic investigations for neurodevelopmental disorders
3. Consider implications of translating the research
based recommendations to clinical practice
4. Introduce ASPEN project (Improved Access and Streamlined Phenotyping for gEnetic Neurodevelopmental disorders)


Dr. Ping Yee Billie Au, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Clinical Assistant Professor, Medical Genetics; Assistant Professor, Paediatrics, University of Calgary

Dr. Pamela Veale, MD, FRCPC, Professor, Paediatrics, University of Calgary

The use of transcranial magnetic stimulation for neuromodulation for developmental and neuropsychiatric conditions in children.

Presentation Objectives:

1. Review the current evidence for TMS interventions in pediatrics

2. Considerations for TMS protocol development in pediatrics 

3. Update ongoing and upcoming TMS projects in pediatrics at ACH 

Featured Speakers:

Dr. Kara Murias, MD, PhD, Paediatric Neurologist, Alberta Children's Hospital; Assistant Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Calgary

Bevin Wiley, 2nd year Graduate Student in Drs. Murias and Kirton’s labs

Spencer Epp, 2nd year Masters of Neuroscience Student in Dr. Gillian Miller’s Pediatric Anesthesia, Imaging, & Neurodevelopmental Science (PAINS) lab at ACH

Updates from the Facing Your Fears Program

Click here to watch part 2 of the presentation

Speakers: Dr. Carly McMorris, R. Psych, PhD, Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary

Stephanie Howe, PhD Student, University of Calgary

Facing Your Fears (FYF) is a cognitive behaviour therapy approach adapted specifically for children and adolescents with autism who also experience anxiety.  

Presentation Objectives:

1. Describe what Facing Your Fears is, how we have adapted this approach for children and youth with ADHD as well as for virtual delivery during COVID, and present some preliminary findings

2. Describe the effectiveness of FYF in reducing youth’s anxiety, parent’s stress, and improving their overall quality of life

3. Discuss next steps/future directions and how to refer families to get involved

Speaker: Dr. W. Ben Gibbard, MD, MA, MSc, FRCPC, Founder Dev. Peds.; Developmental Pediatrician, Alberta Children's Hospital; Section Chief, Developmental Pediatrics; Associate Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary


  1. Review diagnostic approaches used in developmental disorders
  2. Explore and discuss assumptions, utility and limitations of these approaches
  3. Consider how neuroethics might inform clinical service, research and policy for developmental disorders

VIDEO RECORDING awaiting family approval

Speaker: Dr. Robbin Gibb, PhD; Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Lethbridge.

Play is a powerful means to enhance brain structure and function, and support the formation of positive, nurturing relationships with caregivers. The Building Brains Together (BBT) program in Lethbridge has developed a curriculum of games for preschoolers based on evidence presented in the primary literature. This presentation will explore the research behind BBT and demonstrate how children who engage with this program show advances in cognitive

Kate Godfrey, PhD Candidate in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Calgary, presents this talk providing an overview of suicidality in autism spectrum disorder and important knowledge gaps regarding within-individual variation. This talk also highlights a novel University of Calgary protocol aiming to characterize this variability, including underlying neural functioning.

Robotic walking is generating a great deal of excitement for its potential use as a rehabilitation and assistive device for children with significant disabilities. This talk will present study results on outcomes such as sleep, mood and bowel function, and discuss the challenges of measuring some of the outcomes related to robotic walking meaningful to children and their families.

Neuroimaging and neurostimulation can aid in the understanding and development of treatments for pediatric neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. This presentation will focus on transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for pediatric mental health conditions and plans for the lab’s upcoming clinical trials using TMS for depression and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Dr. Lemay will present information from surveys assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, lifestyle, and mental health of families and children with ADHD. He will also report on the Virtual Behavioural Support Intervention for Children with ADHD: The ADHD-VIBES experience. The aim of this project is to assess the feasibility of the ADHD-VIBES program for families in managing and improving behaviour and mental health symptoms in their children with ADHD.

This presentation will provide a critical overview of the role of immune hyper-reactivity, neuro-inflammation and dysfunction in the microbiota-gut-brain axis in persistent tic disorders and related disorders (OCD, ADHD). It will also describe the background, rationale and objectives of cross-disorder research, currently ongoing in Calgary, and focusing on the nature and functional implications of gut dysbiosis in TS, OCD and ADHD.

Suicide is a leading cause of death for youth in Canada, yet little is known about effective school-based prevention approaches. This presentation will review what is known about youth suicide prevention, with a focus on the role of school staff. An overview of new training programs to build school staff capacity to engage in prevention will also be presented.

To improve our understanding of neurodevelopment and improve care for children and families, the right research needs to get into the hands of the right people. We will review methods of Knowledge Translation (KT) including developing a plan, identifying the appropriate audience, implementing strategies, and measuring impact.

Pediatric mild traumatic brain injury clinicians and researchers have experienced challenges in detecting and predicting mild TBI in children with persistent postconcussive symptoms (PCS). Part of their challenge is that the current approaches to biomarking and imaging at their disposal have proven inconsistent. This presentation will review some of the acknowledged methodological and research approaches that aim to address those challenges.

Patient-Oriented Research is still a relatively new practice in Canada as are the mechanisms that support successful relationships within these partnerships. This talk will examine how knowledge translation plays a role from the lens of stakeholders as they receive training through the Family Engagement in Research Course offered through CanChild and Kids Brain Health Network.

All people experience benefit when personal interests are supported and encouraged, and intense interests have additional benefits for autistic people. This talk will provide an overview of intense interests, explore similarities and differences in things that interest autistic and typically developing preschool children, and will discuss behavioural traits which relate to interest intensity in early childhood.

This talk will share current findings and perspectives on gender diversity for individuals on the autism spectrum and present evidence-informed practices for supporting gender diverse autistic children, teens, and adults. Participants will investigate their own understandings of gender and neurodiversity while learning practical strategies to provide sensitive care for trans autistic family members, clients, and community members.

Our understanding of autism has evolved over the years, with members of the autism community influencing that evolution. Self-identity and the impact of language pertaining to autism has been a focus of recent work contributed and led by those on the autism spectrum. This talk will provide an overview of this work, and implications for research and clinical practice. Presented by Dr. Adam McCrimmon, Associate Professor, Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.

Motor impairments are common among children with neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Deborah Dewey will discuss motor difficulties among children with neurodevelopmental disorders, the research examining the genetic and neural bases of motor impairment, and new interventions with potential to improve outcomes in these children. Presented by Dr. Deborah Dewey, Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary.

This presentation will discuss early findings and future directions from Project ACCESS: Assessing the Continuum of Care and Eligibility for Services and Supports for Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and their Families.  This project focused on the use of linked administrative data to measure and understand disparities in access to existing health, education and social services for youth with NDD and their families, and the impact of these disparities on outcomes of youth with NDD across the life course. The presenter of this session is Dr. Jennifer Zwicker, Director of Health Policy, School of Public Policy Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary.

Non-invasive brain stimulation (NiBS) technology has the potential to be a treatment option for children with ADHD. In order to implement such interventions, we need a theory-driven, empirical approach is needed to establish target priorities. This presentation will provide the findings of a multimodal study in children with ADHD (compared to typically developing controls). Presented by Tasmia Hai (University of Alberta PhD candidate) and Cynthia Kahl (University of Calgary MD/PhD candidate).

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are man-made plastics that disrupt the activity of hormones and the body’s normal functions. Two main types are bisphenols (BPA, BPS). These are found in consumer goods, such as food and beverage containers, textile and building materials, personal-care products (soaps, deodorant), and children’s toys. Research has suggested that prenatal and early childhood exposure may affect children’s neurodevelopment. Presented by Dr. Deborah Dewey, Dr. Gillian England-Mason and Dr. Melody Grohs.