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News

Dr. Hadas Dahary, ECP, Receives Governor General's Gold Medal and McGill Alumni Association Graduate Award

Published: 4 June 2024

Dr. Hadas Dahary earned her Ph.D. in School/Applied Child Psychology

Dr. Hadas Dahary earned her Ph.D. in School/Applied Child Psychology at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Eve-Marie Quintin. Her doctoral research was supported by the Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholarship and competitive national autism research training initiatives, including the Quebec Autism Research Training (ART) Program, offered by the Azrieli Centre for Autism Research (ACAR) and the Transforming Autism Care Consortium (TACC) in Montreal.

In her doctoral research, Dr. Dahary focused on understanding strengths-based approaches that can increase societal appreciation of autistic people as well as target autistic people’s personal goals in meaningful and fulfilling ways. Dr. Dahary demonstrated the utility of implementing structured social activities, such as musical activities, in inclusive settings for autistic children and their peers to enjoy together. She also found empirical evidence to suggest that the beat of music is perceptually accessible to autistic children and, thus, may be effectively used to support their developmental goals. Her work, moving away from a deficit-focused view of autism, highlights the capabilities of autistic children and the enriching potential of learning environments like music. Dr. Dahary has presented her findings at national and international conferences, knowledge translation events, and in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Dr. Dahary is deeply committed to developing neurodiversity-affirming mental health supports in collaboration with neurodivergent people. During her doctoral program, she chaired and co-led conferences on mental health at McGill University and co-developed policy briefs on the topic of social inclusion with the Autism Alliance of Canada, aiding in the development of a National Autism Strategy.

Currently, as a postdoctoral fellow at CAMH’s Azrieli Adult Neurodevelopmental Centre in Toronto, Dr. Dahary is involved in research projects exploring how interventions based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, developed in collaboration with clinicians and caregivers, can enhance the mental well-being and quality of life of families with developmental and medical complexities. She also serves as a Psychologist (Supervised Practice) at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, where she supports neurodiverse children and their families.

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