Toronto ABI Network

ABI Conference 2012

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Toronto ABI Network Conference 2012

The Toronto ABI Conference 2012 included keynote and workshop speakers from across the country covering a wide range of topics and trends in acquired brain injury rehabilitation and current research in treatment and diagnosis.

Our program was made possible through the generosity of more than 50 sponsoring organizations.

Download the Conference Program here

Conference Program - Day 1

Day 1

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45

Opening Remarks (Metro Ballroom East)

8:45 – 9:45

Keynote Address (Metro Ballroom East)

What Neurosurgeons Can Learn From Talking With Patients: A Qualitative Journey
Dr. Mark Bernstein, Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto; Neurosurgeon, Toronto Western Hospital

Qualitative research has long been used in social sciences research but less so in medicine, and little in the world of surgery. The author reports on his use of qualitative research to explore the narrative of various aspects of the patients' experiences. He has found that the results can makes us better health care providers.

9:45 – 10:30

Break & Poster Review


Queen's Quay


Metro Centre

Metro East

10:30 -11:15
Concurrent Sessions

Bring Back That Loving Feeling - Sexuality and Relationships After Brain Injury

Caron Gan,  Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
and Jon Lehti, Survivor

Quality and Implementation of Daily Activity Schedules and Supervisor Floor Time in Group Homes for Adults with Acquired Brain Injuries

Bruce Linder, Brain Injury Services

Experiences with Student 'Return to Learn' Following Concussion in a School Setting

Clare Brandys, Consultant, St. Michael's College School



Community-Based Multidisciplinary Rehabilitation of Persons with Brain Injury following MVC

Christopher Dywan, Kaplan and Kaplan Psychologists

11:25 -12:10
Concurrent Sessions

The Paradox of Predicting Persistent Concussion Symptoms in Children
and Adolescents

Dr. Roger Zemek,
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario

The Development and Implementation of a Certificate Program for Unregulated Health Professionals Providing ABI Services

Judy Quance,
Bartimaeus, Inc. and
Christina Versteeg,
Paradigm Rehabilitation and Nursing Services

Results of a multi-center randomized control trial using Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for TBI to treat depression

Melissa Felteau,
Lakehead University
and Mary Donaghy, St. Joseph’s Care Group (Thunder Bay)

Eat Well Live Well with Acquired Brain Injury: Optimize Brain Function Through Proper Nutrition

Kylie James
and  Joanne Smith,



12:10 - 1:30

Lunch & Poster Review

 1:30 - 2:30

Rapid Podium Presentations - 6 presentations (8 minutes each)
(Metro Ballroom East)


Exploring the link between traumatic brain injury and homelessness: A Feasibility Study
Jane Topolovec-Vranic, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto

Outcomes from a province-wide ABI Peer Support Mentoring Program: An Arm's Length Outcome Evaluation
Judith Gargaro, West Park Healthcare Centre

Health Professionals’ Perspectives in Implementing the LIFEspan Model of Pediatric to Adult Rehabilitation Transitional Care
Shauna Kingsnorth, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation

How Clinician “Talk” Affects Self-Identified Goal-setting in Individuals with Acquired Brain Injury
Anne Hunt, University of Toronto & Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest

Yoga Warriors as a Treatment Method for Traumatic Brain Injury and Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder
Nicole Taylor, Yoga Warriors Instructor and Trainer, Taylor Made Yoga; Southlake Hospital

The relationship Between TBI History and Substance Abuse: Building the Case for Integrated Care
Carolyn Lemsky and Judith Gargaro, Community Head Injury Resource Service; Ann Hilliard, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health


Queen's Quay


 Metro Centre

 Metro East

2:35 - 3:20

Concurrent Sessions

Did Travis Bickel Have a Brain Injury? Assessing the Potential for Violence in Individuals with a Brain Injury

Rolf B. Gainer, Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute of Ontario

Participation in a Social and Recreational Day Program Increases Community Integration and Reduces Family Burden of Persons with Acquired Brain Injury

Gary Gerber, West Park Healthcare Centre and
Kelly Gunnell,
COTA Health

Cultural Sensitivity in Acquired Brain Injury Clients

Amir Etemadi,

and Esmaeil Senedjani, F.O.R.S.

Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment Framework and a Story of Recovery:  Perspectives from the Patient and ABI Team

Shannon McGuire
and Becky Moran, St. Joseph's Health Centre - Parkwood Hospital, Linda DeGroot, Brain Injury Survivor

3:20 - 3:45

Break & Poster Review

3:45 – 5:00

Keynote Address (Metro Ballroom East)

Braindamadj'd (Including film screening) 
Paul Nadler, Survivor/patient/student/director and author

How making a film about living with TBI exposed Paul to, prepared him for, and taught him how to live with TBI. The session will follow his experiences in making the film from preproduction through postproduction and beyond…

5:00 - 7:00

Closing Remarks and Networking Reception
All registrants are invited to a reception in Metro Ballroom West following Thursday's program.


Conference Program - Day 2

Day 2

Friday, November 9, 2012


Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 8:45

Greetings (Metro Ballroom East)

8:45 – 9:45

Keynote Address (Metro Ballroom East)

Neural Plasticity: Foundation for Neurorehabilitation
Jeffrey Kleim, Associate Professor, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering (SBHSE) Neuroscience, Arizona State University

Neurorehabilitation is in the midst of a paradigm shift that is centered around research into neural plasticity. Dr. Kleim will review the key neural and behavioural signals driving neuroplastic change in the context of treating brain injury and disease. He will also present evidence of the efficacy of plasticity promoting adjuvant therapies in animal models of brain injury, and discuss the process of translating this basic science into clinical applications.

9:45 – 10:00



 Queen's Quay


 Metro Centre

 Metro East

10:00 – 11:30
Concurrent Workshops

Practising Best Practices:  Facilitating Positive School Reintegration for ABI Youth, Post-Injury or Illness

Jim Donohoo,
John McGivney Children’s Centre,Windsor; Jan Heneberry, Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre; and Jaye Blakeley, Bloorview School Authority,Toronto

No workshop

Sport-concussion 101: Understanding Concussion in Athletes Informs Best Practice Assessment and Management of mTBI in Other Populations

Paul Comper, Toronto Rehab/UHN



Shared care in Mental health and ABI:  Can the whole be more than the sum of the parts?

Carolyn Lemsky, Community Head Injury Resource Services(CHIRS);
Mohamed Badsha, Reconnect Mental Health Services; and Judith Gargaro, West Park Healthcare Centre

11:30 – 12:30

Lunch and Poster Review

12:30 – 1:30

Keynote Address (Metro Ballroom East)

The impact of brain injury and the invisible TBI on military personnel: one soldier’s transition to civilian life

Michael Blois, Law student, University of Western Ontario and former Master Corporal of the Royal Canadian Regiment, injured in Afghanistan

Mike Blois will discuss how the cultural attitudes of the military towards brain injury affected him. He will describe his experience in moving away from the military to become a prospective lawyer, and how this transition could not have occurred without changing his view of himself and his injury.

1:30 – 1:55

Break and last vote for Peoples’ Choice Award


 Queen's Quay


 Metro Centre

 Metro East

1:55 – 2:40

Concurrent Sessions

Filming Possibility:  A Project-Based Approach to Group Activity and Socialization in Youth with an ABI

Lisa Kakonge-Clayton and Valerie Lusted, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation
Hospital; Mychal Reeves, Survivor

Sharing Our Experience with CIMT (Constraint Induced Movement Therapy) 5 years Post Injury

Nancy Katsouras,
Inter-Action Rehabilitation Inc.,Douglas Johnstone, Survivor and
Sheila Johnstone, Caregiver

Designing a Brain Injury Strategy - When Patients, Family and Front-line Staff Lead the Way

Jill Congram and Paul Wright, Alberta Health Services 



A Proactive Approach to Aggressive Behaviour Management

Gregory Saxe
and Stéphane Hébert, Vista Centre Brain Injury Services

2:45 – 3:45

Keynote Address (Metro Ballroom East)

Helping the helpers: Challenges and rewards for professionals who care for people with acquired brain injury

Dr. Abe Snaiderman, Director, Neuropsychiatry Clinic Neuro-Rehabilitation Program, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network; Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine, University of Toronto

This presentation will outline some of the common themes that health professionals involved in the care of people with acquired brain injuries encounter and how they deal with them. It will provide practical ways to approach problems such as fear, hopelessness, anxiety, guilt and burnout.

3:45 – 4:00

Closing Remarks and presentation of People's Choice Award

The conference planning committee reserves the right to modify the program if required.