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In this event, a panel comprised of youth with lived experiences, government officials, researchers, and families will discuss the results of a new research review of international academic evidence on rights-based approached for children with disabilities and youth and parents and youth will discuss the implications and considerations of the CRPD for children and youth with disabilities on real life experiences. The panel will also discuss some concrete steps that can be taken at the national and international levels, based on best practices and academic evidence from different countries to realize the CRPD with respect to children and youth with disabilities so that no one is left behind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Kids Brain Health Network, CHILD-BRIGHT, the Canada Research Chair in Childhood Disability at McGill University  and the Government of Canada are co-sponsoring this event with the goal of fostering discussion among participants about actionable items in research and practice for children and youth with disabilities.



City University of New York

7th Floor, room 42-0725

205 East 42nd Street

Get Directions


Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:30-8:00PM


Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minster of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Government of Canada

Keiko Shikako-Thomas, Canada Research Chair in Childhood Disabilities, Kids Brain Health Network, McGill University

Nikolas Harris, Government of Canada youth delegate

Susan Cosgrove, CHILD-BRIGHT network parent mentor

Liam Cosgrove, Kids Brain Health Network youth delegate

Rachel Martens, Kids Brain Health Network parent

The views expressed here are those of the speakers and may not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Canada, Kids Brain Health Network or CHILD-BRIGHT Network.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan

Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities

Kirsty Duncan was an Associate Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto and the former Research Director for the AIC Institute of Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management. A renowned international speaker, she has lectured for such organizations as the National Geographic Society, the Government of Japan, and the Young Presidents’ Organization.


She sat on the Advisory Board for Pandemic Flu for the Conference Board of Canada, and the University of Toronto, and has helped organizations throughout Canada and the United States prepare for a possible flu pandemic. She sat on the boards of the Indigenous Cooperative on the Environment, the Scottish Studies Foundation, the St. Andrew’s Society of Toronto, and the Toronto Foundation for School Success. She co-chaired the 2006 Fraser Mustard Awards Gala in support of student nutrition and in October 2007, she chaired “Feeding Toronto’s Hungry Students Week.”


Ms. Duncan is passionate about helping build resilient communities and taking action on climate change. She has helped provide food, shelter and education to Toronto’s youth, and served on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Ms. Duncan holds a doctorate in geography from the University of Edinburgh.


Nikolas Harris is a 24 year old from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 22 months of age. Nikolas is a licensed social worker and works with the Dalhousie University School of Social Work Community Clinic and the Canadian Mental Health Association Halifax-Dartmouth Branch. He is completing his Master of Social Work at Dalhousie University, and his thesis work is exploring youth narratives of individuals who have attended Camp Jointogether, a camp for youth living with arthritis. Nikolas sat on the first Inflammatory Arthritis Working Group in Nova Scotia and, nationally, he informs the Childhood Arthritis Advisory Council through the Arthritis Society about how to better support the lives of Canadians with childhood arthritis.


Susan Cosgrove is a single parent of three children with brain based development disorders, proudly raising her unique family in the spirit of neurodiversity. As an active advocate in Toronto, Susan is focused on patient centred research and healthcare; with a focus on using knowledge translation techniques to empower parents to share their unique family stories. She sits on local and national advisory panels through the Autism Treatment Network and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, has presented at Canadian conferences and shared her family story on national media. Susan is CHILD-BRIGHT Network’s first professional Parent Mentor.


Liam Cosgrove is a Canadian teenager living in Toronto, he loves public speaking, vehicle trivia and world & military history. He also happens to have autism. Liam is passionate about sharing his experiences growing up in Canada with Autism, as well as his hopes for the future. Liam would love to discuss vehicles with anyone who might be interested. So feel free to say hello.

Rachel Martens is mom to Luke a 12 year old boy born with mosaic trisomy 22. She works via the Kids Brain Health Network as a Parent Engagement Facilitator for collaborative research on neurodevelopmental disabilities. Rachel has a passion for helping parents develop healthy skills in advocacy and collaborate in research geared towards policy development in Canada.


Keiko Shikako-Thomas focuses on the promotion of healthy living and participation for children with disabilities. Her research program uses participatory methodology to engage different stakeholders, including policymakers, children and their families, in finding solutions to change the environment, inform policymaking and promote the rights and participation of children with disabilities in different life roles and activities.