Fall 2020 - Thursday Webinar Series

Child to Older Adult: Research Insights

Childhood Shyness: How temperament shapes our social world

Thursday, Oct 15, 2020     1:30pm – 3:00pm

Our research is focused on studying the implications of childhood temperament for social and emotional development across the lifespan. Temperament describes biologically based, relatively stable styles of reacting to the world. Rather than conceptualizing temperament as “good vs. bad” we think of temperament as a collection of core traits that shape children’s views of the world, their interactions with important others, and the environments that provide an optimal “fit.” In my talk, I will describe my program of research focused on childhood shyness, one of the most heritable and stable temperament traits that influences development across the lifespan. I will present findings from our cross-sectional and longitudinal studies to illustrate how shyness influences attention, information processing, and social behaviour. I will present data that illustrate how shyness comes with both costs and benefits for the development of interpersonal competencies and relationships. Findings will be discussed in terms of transactional models of development in which early temperament shapes both the quantity and quality of children’s social experiences, and in turn, the types of relationships and environments that foster optimal developmental outcomes.

About the Lecturer

Helen Henderson

Heather Henderson

Dr. Henderson is a Professor and the Chair in the Department of Psychology at the University of Waterloo. She is the Director of the Social Development Lab where she and her students conduct research in the areas of social and emotional development with a focus on social withdrawal and peer relationships. She completed her B.Sc. in Psychology at McMaster University and her Ph.D. in Human Development at the University of Maryland. After several years on the faculty at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, she returned to Waterloo in 2014 with her husband and two children, Will and Sammy. She is the recipient of several awards for her outstanding teaching and mentorship at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.



Family development: From the first child to the – not so – empty nest

Thursday, Oct 22, 2020     1:30 – 3:00pm

The quality of family relationships and family interaction are considered a major context for child development. In my talk I will refer to the concept of family development by looking at families’ transitions from the establishing of a nuclear family unit with the transition to parenthood until the leaving of the young adult children. Results of studies will be reported that cover, for example, couples becoming parents, integrating a sibling, and transition to adolescence. A transition requires adaptations in the individual family members and their relations to adjust to new circumstances and roles in life. Individuals as well as families differ in their ability to deal with change.

The framework of family development was first described about 45 years ago. Since then societal change has impacted family experience greatly. Parents’ age at birth of the first child has been increasing. Single parenthood became more frequent. And, more and more both partners work full time. Nevertheless, the everyday family experience, the way to deal with conflict and the way to communicate remain the vehicle that can sustain lasting family relationships. For that reason, in-depth investigations of observed family interaction over time will be presented during this talk.

Divorce and blending into stepfamilies are two transitions that also increased considerably over the last decades. The framework discussed in this talk can help to better understand these family transformations as well. Finally, the recent phenomenon of emerging adult children never leaving or moving back home and the consequences for the ageing parents will be discussed and compared internationally.

About the Lecturer

Manuela Ullrich

Manuela Ullrich studied psychology at Free University Berlin, Germany. Her interest in family research started while working for the longitudinal study From Childhood to Adolescence in the Family, at the Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development in Berlin. There, she conducted video observations in families’ homes, analysed data and co-developed two coding systems for observed family interaction (for dyads and triads). Following that she was assistant professor at Humboldt University in Berlin, and was trained as clinical psychotherapist. After moving to Canada, she dedicated most of her time raising her two children. Recently, she developed an online course on adolescence and young adulthood for the Department of Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University.



Alternative Education: Is this the next wave of Education?

Thursday, Oct 29, 2020     1:30pm – 3:00pm

In Canada, 1 in 66 children is diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum. In the last 2 years, Early Intervention programs across Ontario have been drastically cut leaving children with very diverse and significant needs entering the school system ill-prepared. Research shows that early and intensive intervention has a sustaining and life-long impact on communication, pro-social and behavioural outcomes. Yet, children who do not receive Early Intervention are continuing to enter a school system where teachers and EA’s are expected to be behaviour and speech therapists. Parents are seeking alternative education settings where their children can receive both an education and get their behavioural, social and emotional needs met. Oak Bridge Academy, founded in 2017, is a not-for-profit alternative elementary school that provides the necessary therapy within an educational setting.

About the Lecturer

Kathie Shaw

Kathie Shaw has been working in the field of Autism and Applied Behaviour Analysis since 1993 and has specifically worked in the field of Intensive Behaviour Intervention since 2000. After completing her undergraduate degree at Trent University, she went on to receive her diploma in Social Work, then later her Masters in Social Work at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University while at the same time completing her course work to become a behaviour analyst through Dr. Vince Carbone.

Kathie is Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA); is a registered Social Worker and a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers; is a certified Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (NVCI) instructor with the Crisis Prevention Institute; has completed training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) through Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, and has completed Mindfulness-Based Group Practice including Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) through Sunnybrook hospital.

Kathie is passionate about supporting an alternative school in Waterloo Region. Oak Bridge Academy uses a model that has shown great success in several schools in the USA, following a model by Dr. Mark Dixon. This model uses the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. For those who may be unfamiliar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, its aim is to maximize human potential for a rich, full and meaningful life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy does this by teaching behavioural skills to deal with painful thoughts and feelings effectively in such a way that they have much less impact and influence (these are known as mindfulness skills). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy helps to clarify what is truly important and meaningful, i.e. your values, and then uses this knowledge to guide, inspire and motivate positive life changes. Academics is a core focus and an important part of each day at Oak Bridge, however, mindfulness and working to be flexible in thoughts and behaviours are the skills and strategies that are intertwined throughout the day and incorporated into all learning activities. Oak Bridge also intentionally teaches skills such as initiation, organizational strategies, interpersonal skills, collaboration, self-regulation and responsibility.

Kathie believes that these are the skills that will support our kids in being successful no only in school but in life. Kathie ensures that these are the skills that are pivotal in the teaching at Oak Bridge Academy to support our children on their journey into high school and beyond.



Developing During Displacement: Global Perspectives on the Development of Refugee Youths

Thursday, Nov 05, 2020     1:30pm – 3:00pm

Numbers of displaced people are surging globally and more than half of those displaced are children and youth. Displaced youth develop in exceptional circumstances that their host countries must be responsive to. Like Canada, Sweden has become a major destination for displaced youth and the country is testing school programs to increase displaced youths’ wellbeing and better support their development. These programs will be discussed along with lessons that can be applied to a Canadian educational context.

About The Lecturer

Serena McDiarmid

Serena McDiarmid is a second year doctoral student at the University of Waterloo studying the development of refugee children. She is a Vanier Scholar who recently received a Mitacs GlobaLink Award to work alongside an Uppsala University team studying the wellbeing of refugee children in Sweden’s school system. This project was part of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation. Here in Canada, she also works as an occasional teacher with the Waterloo Region District School Board with a focus on second language instruction.


The (subjective) times of our lives: Constructing personal identity from a malleable past and future

Thursday,   Nov 12, 2020      1:30pm – 3:00pm

Our personal identity matters for our well-being, relationships, and decisions; it is a lens through which we interpret and come to understand the world. How do we build our sense of identity? Present identity doesn’t occur in a temporal vacuum – we survey our temporal landscape in both directions and build a sense of present self from both autobiographical memory and predictions for the future. However, everything about this process – our reconstructions of the past, construction of the future, and subjective sense of time itself – is elastic. Our representations of temporally extended selves involve a great deal of poetic licence. My research explores how our representations of the times of our lives can shape identity, but in turn, how our identity –and how we want to see ourselves – can systematically affect the way we revise the past and imagine the future.

The self over time can be thought of as a series of interconnected individuals with differing degrees of overlap with the present. Part of how we create identity is by regulating the connections between these selves, by altering our perception of the passage of time (which itself is highly malleable). Feeling close to or distant from a past or future self can help to psychologically forge or sever connections between these moments in time and define their psychological relevance to the present. Further, our underlying assumptions about whether it is possible for people to change their basic characteristics (like personality and morality) also affect the ways we remember our past and envision the future.

I will focus mainly on how these identity processes play out for our individual sense of self. However, we also have relational and collective identities as relationship partners, and as group members. I will briefly describe how the same identity processes can help us understand how we think about our relationships, our national history, and our collective future.

About the Lecturer

Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson is the Director of IMPETuS Lab and a Professor of Social Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Wilson completed her PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Waterloo. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists (Royal Society of Canada) and a Fellow with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), Successful Societies Program. Dr. Wilson is co-Editor-in-Chief of Social Personality Psychology Compass. She has worked with government, policy makers, industry partners, and educators to connect research evidence to real-world outcomes. Dr. Wilson has mentored more than 70 undergraduate thesis students, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Her research and publications focus on self and identity over time, interpersonal and intergroup relations, and societal issues like inequality and prejudice.


Young at heart: The age you feel affects well-being in later life

Thursday,   Nov 19, 2020     1:30pm – 3:00pm

Recent research suggests that the age you feel, or, subjective age, has almost as much impact as actual age on longevity, health, and well-being. Dr. Mock will share some of his own work studying the impact of subjective age on well-being in later life. Feeling younger than your actual age has important implications for counteracting negative attitudes about aging, bolstering life satisfaction in later life, and positive feelings about sexuality in later life.

About The Lecturer

Steve Mock

Dr. Mock is a professor in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. A developmental psychologist by training, Dr. Mock received his PhD from Cornell in the Department of Human Development and was a postdoctoral fellow at Yale. Dr. Mock’s research interests are in the areas of aging and retirement, coping with stigmatization, sexual minority adult development, and leisure as a coping resource.



Going back to get ahead? Understanding why millennials live with parents

Thursday,    Nov 26, 2020      1:30pm – 3:00pm

This talk examines young adults’ experiences of co-residence with their parents. Although we might think of the stereotype of the struggling/lazy ‘kidult’, millennials who live with their parents tell a different story…

Co-residence offers a unique lens to understand some of the vital economic geographies of young adults, especially when set within a context of financial uncertainty, inaccessible housing markets, and a job market characterized by insecure work. The research draws on a feminist economic geography framework to understand why millennials (those born between 1980 and 1995) live at home. Analysis of qualitative interviews reveals the key social structures and processes that organize and shape millennials’ experiences, including the economy, education and debt, as well as the family, culture and mutual reliance.

This talk highlights the role families play in the struggle to maintain a middle class social position for their children, providing insight into the complexity of young adults’ decisions to co-reside with parents, where motivations of choice and constraint often overlap.

About The Lecturer

Nancy Worth

Dr. Nancy Worth is a feminist economic geographer at the University of Waterloo. She is interested in (un)paid work, inequalities, age and generations, and feminist theory. Her most recent project examines work-at-home freelancing with millennials who work in the media.

Interested in joining the Board of Directors of Third Age Learning KW (TAL-KW)?

TAL-KW has a number of vacancies available for the Board of Directors in 2021. In general, our Board members have a passion for learning, organizational and communication skills and share decision making and board responsibilities outlined in our by-laws and policies.

We are looking for  a Treasurer, an Assistant Registrar, a Member at Large, and a Board and Program Committee member.

Read More »