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NOvEL Lab Research Projects

Teaching Educators about Acquired Brain Injury (Teach-ABI)

For students who have an acquired brain injury (ABI), going back to school can be hard for them as well as for educators who may not have the knowledge or resources to support them. The Teach-ABI program is designed to help students re-integrate into their class and succeed. At the same time, the program helps educators create a more inclusive classroom environment for all students.

We have conducted a needs assessment of what educators are looking for in an online education module. Learn more about it's development here:

Currently, we are seeking feedback from elementary school teachers in Ontario on the module. To learn more about the study, visit this page:…

This project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.


Move&Connect is an interdisciplinary intervention for youth with Persistent Post-Concussion Symptoms (PPCS). Youth participants work with both physiotherapists and occupational therapists in a group setting.  They do low intensity exercise, learn coping strategies for daily life, learn about concussion and provide peer support to other youth experiencing prolonged symptoms after a concussion. Caregivers of youth with PPCS participate in a psychoeducational support group. They learn about supporting their children with PPCS and effectively solving family conflict.

To date, we have developed and adapted Move&Connect to be administered virtually. We also assessed the acceptability and usefulness of the program for clients and families. 

This project is funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research's Early Career Investigators in Maternal, Reproductive, Child, and Youth and Health Award. 


The R2Play project is an interdisciplinary initiative between the NOvEL and PEARL labs at Holland Bloorview. We are co-creating a multi-task assessment environment that mimics the challenges of sport (R2Play) to assist clinicians with return-to-play decision-making. Our hope is that R2Play will be used not only at Holland Bloorview clinics, but across Canada and internationally.

This research study aims to develop and assessment that helps youth with concussion return to their sport life (return-to-play). We want to learn about the return-to-play experiences of youth with concussion and their guardians, sport coaches and clinicians, to guide the design of the R2Play system.

To date, we have consulted with the needs of stakeholders when creating a return-to-play assessment ( We also conducted a feasibility study to get feedback from youth athletes and clinicians on the R2Play system:…

Health Economics & Utilization of the Persistent Concussion Clinic

We are examining the demographic and clinical characteristic of clients and families of the Persistent Concussion Clinic at Holland Bloorview. The project is examining the direct and indirect health-care costs of people who are experiencing prolonged concussion symptoms. It is also exploring the potential links between these two types of costs and whether they can be used to help individuals predict symptoms of persistent concussions.

Learn more about it here:

Connecting Caregivers after ABI

Caregivers Connecting after ABI (CCABI) group offers an opportunity for caregivers to come together to navigate life after their child's ABI injury. CCABI is an open-ended educational and psychosocial group currently being provided to caregivers of children with ABI on the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team (BIRT) unit at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. CCABI is now at the test stage to evaluate the group to determine if the needs of caregivers are being met. The aim is to better understand the education and social support experiences of caregivers participating with the BIRT program.


i_SibworkS is a group-based cognitive behavioral program for siblings of youth with disabilities. Siblings ages 6-16 participate in fun activities to strengthen problem solving skills and learn about coping behaviors and emotions. This study involves six weeks of intervention delivered online through the video conferencing platform Zoom. Program evaluation involves quantitative measures and semi-structured interviews.

Persistent Concussion, Anxiety, Neuropsychology, and Neuroimaging (PeCANN)

Persistent Concussion, Anxiety, Neuropsychology, and Neuroimaging (PeCANN) investigates the similarities and differences in neuropsychology and neuroimaging outcomes between youth with persistent post-concussive symptoms and youth with anxiety. The goal is to better understand and develop long-term outcomes in youth experiencing these conditions.​ 

To date, we have conducted a scoping review on the mental health outcomes of youth with PPCS ( We have also conducted a scoping review on Magnetic Resonance Imaging modalities that have been used to study PPCS (publication under review). 

We are currently looking for youth with PPCS and youth that have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder to participate in our research study. Learn more about the study here:…;

Teen Online Problem Solving Therapy: A Widespread Implementation of Patient-Centered Online Therapy for Adolescent Traumatic Brain Injury

Teen Online Problem Solving (TOPS) is a family based problem solving intervention developed by Shari Wade and colleagues over the past 20 years for post moderate to severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Over 9 telehealth research trials have demonstrated improvement in behavior, executive functioning, caregiver depression/distress, psychosocial functioning, and quality of life. Holland Bloorview is 1 of 15 sites that is implementing TOPS into our hospital. The purpose of this study is to 1) increase delivery of care to families of children with moderate to severe TBI, and 2) to evaluate treatment efficacy.

For more information about the research for TOPS:  

COVID-19, Resilience, and Well-Being in Children with Disabilities

COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, lockdowns, and school shutdown have exponentially impacted children with disabilities. Access to healthcare services and other daily activities has been restricted and we know that many families are struggling. However, while many challenges from pandemic restrictions have been identified, there may be areas where children and families are thriving. This project therefore provides an opportunity to examine areas where Holland Bloorview clients and families are demonstrating resilience. It can also act as a catalyst for identifying their wellness priorities during the pandemic and beyond. Therefore, the goal of this project is to take a strengths-based approach and investigate any positive effects of changes that have resulted from COVID-19 restrictions from the perspectives of youth with disabilities and their families. We are using in-depth interviews to understand the experiences of our clients and a survey to investigate factors that contribute to well-being and resilience in youth with disabilities. Results from this study will guide clinical care recommendations and hospital planning by incorporating client and family needs into programs.

Past Projects

Neuropsychology Concussion Database

The outpatient neuropsychology team at Holland Bloorview has started an important clinical database to characterize the clinical profiles of clients referred for neuropsychology assessments through the Persistent Concussion Clinic. We hope to use this information to identify the most vulnerable clinical profiles in order to design personalized neuropsychological rehabilitative programs and interventions.

Pathways for Progress

We recently completed this project that critically evaluated an innovative clinical pathway. We wanted to explore the client and family experience engaging in person-centred interdisciplinary care and ensure it is meeting their needs. Learn more: