The Azrieli Foundation, working with Brain Canada, supports translational research in the area of neurodevelopmental disorders with a special focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Fragile X Syndrome (FXS). The goal of this multi-million dollar initiative is to develop new diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders to reduce their economic and social burden on Canadians, and to improve the quality of life for those affected by neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. This funding is supporting Canadian teams or the Canadian components of international teams doing innovative and collaborative research projects in the area of neurodevelopmental disorders. For more information about the teams that received funding, click here.

Support for Adults with Developmental Disabilities 

The Miriam Foundation, Montreal, Canada

Recreational Activities: More than a dozen innovative recreation and leisure activities are offered for adults with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities. Recreation and leisure activities are a critical dimension of the quality of life for all people, including people with developmental disabilities – an often forgotten segment of the population. They are a vehicle through which people have fun, meet new friends, and develop skills and competencies.

Parent support and navigation: See Things My Way Centre for Innovation will be launching two pilot projects to assist families with pre-school children after their children receive a diagnosis of ASD, GDD and/or ID.  First, the program will be working with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and Institut National d’Excellence en Santé et en Services Sociaux to increase the availability of family support coordinators in the public health network.  Second, the Miriam Foundation is developing a parent and child coaching program to support, orient and educate parents and children while they are waiting for more intensive services in the public sector.

Medical and dental services: There is a tremendous need for specialized medical and dental services.  In the absence of these, many individuals with ASD and ID are misdiagnosed, left untreated or must visit emergency rooms instead of receiving  proper care. Miriam’s Centre for Innovation will be working with a health professional team to launch new medical and dental services for individuals with ASD and ID in Montreal in 2016.  Our team will be interdisciplinary and have special expertise in treating individuals with ASD and ID.

Trails of Summer, Montreal, Canada

This summer day camp serves children aged 3 to 15 who have Aspergers, Autism or other Developmental Disabilities. The child-to-staff ratio is one-to-one, as many of the children are non-verbal and high needs. During the summer months, the camp provides stimulation for the children and a respite for the parents as well.

Taglit-Birthright Israel

The Birthright program is a fully subsidized ten-day educational trip to Israel for young Jews between the ages of 18 and 26. The funds from the Azrieli Foundation will sponsor trips for individuals with developmental and/or physical disabilities who are eligible for participation. The participants will also receive the award-winning publications from the Azrieli Foundations’ Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program.

The Azrieli Foundation does not consider unsolicited applications for funding and does not make direct grants to individuals. Grants are made through Foundation operated and selected programs. The Foundation maintains a process of review and monitoring for all its grants, small or large. 

Why is it important to support Neurodevelopmental Research? Read Dr. Naomi Azrieli’s article here.

What is Fragile X Syndrome? 

Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most commonly inherited form of mental impairment, affecting 1 in 4,000 boys and 1 in 6,000 girls. Fragile X is caused when a single gene in the brain cells shuts down. In affected individuals, this gene cannot manufacture a protein vital for regular brain development and function. New treatments will have wide-ranging impact on the hundreds of thousands of people affected by FXS, autism, and those with other neurological disorders that have a similar underlying mechanism. Research on Fragile X is well advanced and at a stage where translational breakthroughs leading to effective treatments are likely. While Fragile X individuals have a normal life expectancy, most will need support and care for their entire lives. While there is currently no cure for Fragile X syndrome (FXS), there are many areas of treatment and intervention that can improve the lives of affected individuals and their families.