Can autistic kids be helped by a play-based program?

For children with autism, it’s a confusing world, wrote CBC News April 6, in the introduction to a video interview featuring Stuart Shanker, distinguished research professor of psychology/philosophy and director of the Milton & Ethel Harris Research Initiative in York’s Faculty of Health. Trying to communicate with these kids can be a struggle, as they often seem to be locked inside their own impenetrable worlds. Therapists who work with autistic children are constantly on the lookout for ways to get them to engage with others. Now, researchers at York University are carrying out the first study of a play-based therapy program that has had some remarkable success in drawing some autistic children out of their solitary worlds and into a shared one. View video.

Greatest tests of Charter may still be in future
“As we reflect on three decades of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, do we see the enduring energy and ambition of youth or the pragmatic judgment of maturity?”, asked Lorne Sossin, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “As with many 30-year-olds, it’s likely a little of both,” Sossin wrote in the April 13 edition of The Lawyers Weekly. Read full story.

The missing voice in workplace gender issues
Ronald Burke
, professor emeritus of organization studies at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto, agrees that masculinity plays a role in keeping men from actively entering the discussion of gender issues at work, wrote The Globe and Mail April 7. To some degree, Burke blames business education, but also said men with daughters seem to understand the difficulties women face in the workplace more often than men without daughters. Read full story.

Why Latin America is looking at legalizing cocaine
Canada seems to be no more forward-looking on the narcotics file than Washington, reported the Toronto Star April 7, in a story about calls in Latin America for a return to the early 1900s legalization of cocaine. “The Canadian approach is simple,” says Marcel Martel, a history professor in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and an expert on organized crime. “It’s repression. Stephen Harper hasn’t indicated he plans to revisit the way Canada handles illegal drug use.” Read full story.

Why exactly did the police bomb squad swarm Byron Sonne’s old Forest Hill home?
James Stribopoulos, a criminal procedure professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, commented on some of the legal issues surrounding speculation about whether a G-20 protestor currently on trial could be re-charged following police discovery of dangerous chemicals buried in his backyard.  “It would be somewhat extraordinary for the judge to allow it,” Stribopoulos told the National Post April 6. Read full story.

Easter: The Movable Christian Feast
“When you think about it, the imagery of the egg, the use of fresh greens at the Passover ritual all have to do with the renewal of life in the spring, and a lot of the symbolism has been taken over by Easter,” explained Carl Ehrlich, professor of humanities in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, in a story in the Toronto Star April 7. Read full story.

French voters gravitate toward extremes
The fact that 27 per cent of the French electorate (more if one includes the ecology candidate) intend to vote for candidates on the far right or far left only proves Charles DeGaulle’s point about how difficult it is to govern a country with 246 varieties of cheese, wrote Harvey Simmons, professor emeritus of political science in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, in the Toronto Star April 8. Except that presidential elections matter more than the choice of cheese. Read full story.

President highlights security efforts for media
York’s President and Vice-Chancellor, Mamdouh Shoukri, said York is working with police and private security to deliver the safest learning environment possible, reported the Toronto Sun April 8, in a column about safety on the Keele campus. Shoukri issued a security update last week and said his school is committed to “creating a space where people feel valued and safe.” University Assistant Vice-President Richard Francki, who is in charge of security, is equally determined and said the school is spending about $9.5 million on student safety and security-related expenses.

York University did the right thing in cancelling CIGI deal
Osgoode Hall Law School Professors Gus Van Harten and Stepan Wood wrote about their view of York’s decision to cancel a funding agreement with the Centre for International Governance Innovation. “York did a service to itself, taxpayers and potential benefactors,” they wrote in the Waterloo Region Record April 7. Read full story.

Laughs led comedian back to Markham roots
It’s tough making a living a as a comedian. Just ask Neil Bansil, wrote April 5, in a story about the York grad’s upcoming appearance in Markham April 14, with the show he created to launch his full-time career. “I wanted to make my own money and get more stage time,” he said. Read full story.