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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis


Easing the transition to adult services for children with developmental disabilities

13 Oct 2014

Children with developmental disabilities increasingly survive into adulthood, often with poor health outcomes.  Canada invests huge resources in the childhood years, and now has a generation of adults (up to 1.3 million people) with childhood-onset disabilities. However,  compared to their peers without disabilities, these people’s lives are impoverished in many ways. They experience ineffective transition to adult services, costly hospitalizations, inequity of health care services, and a possible lifelong economic burden to family and society.

Dr. Jan Willem Gorter, MD, PhD, FRCP(C) Director, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster and the Scotiabank Chair in Child Health Research, says this this transition process can be improved. In a CHEPA seminar, Let’s make transition better! he’ll discuss findings from his research into ways to improve the transition process for children with developmental disabilities as they approach adulthood and their families.

He will discuss:

  • critical gaps in our understanding of developmental trajectories of youth with disabilities – knowledge essential to inform evidence-based health care, policy and decision-making.
  • ideas for how we could improve life-span health and transition to adulthood of young people with disabilities 
  • ideas for how we measure improved physical and mental health status for young people and their families.

Gorter is a Professor of Pediatrics and an associate member of the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster, where he holds the Scotiabank Chair in Child Health Research. He is an adult-trained physiatrist and a developmental disability specialist with a special clinical and research interest in transitional services and lifespan. He leads a teen-transition clinic for teenagers with cerebral palsy / developmental disabilities and their families at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

He leads CanChild, a world-renowned centre of excellence in childhood disability research with a global network (he also co-founded NetChild in the Netherlands), with a very strong track record of successes in transformative research, knowledge translation (impact), learning and capacity building. CanChild’s expertise includes outcome measurement, longitudinal and clinical trials research, quantitative and qualitative analysis and integrated knowledge translation.

He works with a number of undergraduate and graduate students at several universities in Canada and the Netherlands. He is author/co-author of more than 110 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals and book chapters on cerebral palsy, transition to adulthood, and sexual development & health.

The seminar will be held on Weds. Oct. 15 in CRL B119, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. All are welcome. The seminar will be available remotely for those who are unable to attend.

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