media release

Media Advisory: SFU expert available on COVID-19’s impact on autism community

April 02, 2020


Shradhha Sharma, SFU Media Relations, 604.202.2504,

Grace Iarocci, director, Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab, 604.812.4248,


The COVID-19 pandemic has ground normal life to a halt across the world. For families in the autism community, this disruption has further fueled anxieties as they struggle to provide a stable environment at home to family members coping with an autism spectrum disorder.


To mark World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), Autism Community Training (ACT) will hold a free web presentation entitled, “Autism, Anxiety and COVID-19” with mental health clinicians, including Grace Iarocci, director of Simon Fraser University’s Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab.


The presenters will answer questions during the live web-stream from their homes in the Vancouver region of British Columbia, Canada. They are:

Grace Iarocci, registered psychologist and SFU psychology professor

David Worling, registered psychologist and director of the Westcoast Child Development Group

Anthony Bailey, child psychiatrist and chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UBC


Thursday, April 2

3:00-4:00 pm PST


Live web stream via Facebook live

About SFU expert Grace Iarocci:

A professor of psychology at SFU and the director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab, Grace Iarocci’s research is founded on the idea that atypical and typical development can be understood better when they are studied together. There are more commonalities than differences and the differences can help us understand how developmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) uniquely affect development. Studying ASD can also help us uncover the limits and potential variations in typical development. Iarocci is the past president of the ACT board and works closely with government and community agencies in B.C. to disseminate research information on ASD, and influence policy on ASD and other developmental disabilities. Her research is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Laurel Foundation.

She is available for interviews on COVID-19’s impact on the autism community.



As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties that deliver 193 undergraduate degree programs and 127 graduate degree programs to more than 35,000 students. The university now boasts more than 160,000 alumni residing in 143 countries.

Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.