CIHR Dissemination Grant awarded to NeuroDevNet CP researchers

December 3, 2013
Against the backdrop of increased focus on healthy activity and leisure pursuits for all Canadians, NeuroDevNet researchers Dr. Annette Majnemer and Dr. Keiko Shikako-Thomas and their colleagues want to reduce barriers to participation for children and youth with physical disabilities.
Research exists that identifies those barriers and ways to overcome them, but few mechanisms exist for translating that knowledge into action.
The Child Health Initiative Limiting Disabilities through Leisure (CHILD LeisureNET) project aims to mobilize a variety of stakeholders including parents, youth, service providers and policymakers to increase appreciation of this evidence and collectively find solutions to promote leisure opportunities for children and youth with CP, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic brain injury, developmental coordination disorder and other conditions.
Services that promote functional independence and engagement in activity are most intense in the first five years of a child’s life, “and then things start to fall off as children grow older,” says Dr. Majnemer. “We know leisure activity is important for social and physical well-being, in children, adolescents, and young adults.”
“Our vision is to create a stakeholders' network that will work collaboratively to share information and propose solutions, as well as help generate scientific evidence in support of leisure participation,” adds Dr. Shikako-Thomas. “The CIHR dissemination grant will kick start our network and its activities, including an interactive App that lists local resources and policies supporting leisure for children with disabilities in Canada.
“We also plan to host several ‘think tanks’ around the theme of health promotion through leisure – with stakeholders involved in policy, families, researchers and clinicians all participating in identifying next steps in policy and research.”
Three days after receiving word of the grant the researchers were already convening planning meetings to put the $19,910, one-year grant into action, bridging the gaps between research and receptors.

Photo by: Katelyn Verstraten