Inspiring Minds seeks to broaden awareness and impact of graduate student research, while enhancing transferable skills. Students were challenged to describe their research, scholarship or creative activity in 150 or fewer words to share with our community.

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Virtual More Than Words®: A Caregiver-Mediated Program for Autistic Preschooler

Families with an autistic child are experiencing long waitlists to access services. Caregiver mediated programs may be one solution by educating and empowering caregivers to support their child’s development when the clinician is not present. My doctoral research explores the virtual adaptation of More Than Words®, a caregiver-mediated program that provides caregivers strategies they can implement into daily routines to support their autistic preschooler's social communication and play skills development. Outcomes of over 2000 Ontario families that participated in the virtual program between 2020 and 2021 will be examined. Additionally, the experiences of families and clinicians will be explored to understand the facilitators and barriers of this virtual adaptation. As we move beyond the pandemic, virtual services are important in reducing accessibility barriers. My research will provide researchers and clinicians with new findings on virtual programming and where adaptations are needed to ensure positive and impactful experiences for families.

Lauren Denusik
PhD candidate, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences - Western University

Janis Oram Cardy

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Lauren Denusik is a PhD candidate in the Health and Rehabilitation Combined MCISc/PhD Program at Western University. She is simultaneously completing her clinical master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and her doctoral degree in Speech and Language Sciences. Before coming to Western, Lauren completed a BA (Honours) in Speech Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests include supporting autistic children and youth and improving access to services through caregiver-mediated programs and virtual services. As a combined student, Lauren is in a unique opportunity to see the experience of families and clinicians firsthand through clinical placements in the community, which helps guide the development of her research projects. Outside of school, Lauren remains actively involved in the graduate student community as the former Co-President of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Student Council and currently the Chair of the Graduate Peer Support Committee for the Society of Graduate Students (SOGS) at Western University.

You can connect with Lauren on LinkedIn at; on X at; on the web at; and via email at

View Lauren's work as it appears in the Inspiring Minds Digital Collection:

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