Monthly Archives: May 2015

May News Round-Up

ACT News

Funding for Online Mental Health Training Program for Professionals

BCLogoThe BC Government has announced that ACT – Autism Community Training is being funded to develop an online training program to help qualified health professionals to better recognize the mental-health challenges that often impact children and youth with autism.

ACT will work closely with the professional community to develop this online training resource to help meet the high level of demand for mental health professionals who are prepared to provide services for children with autism. We will report to the autism community on progress as the project takes shape.

ACT Events this Spring & Summer

act-events-iconACT is hosting many great events over the next few months; register early and save with early bird rates. Download the new ACT Calendar of Events (May – December 2015) or see below for upcoming summer events:

See ACT’s Live Events page for a full listing of 2015 events and to register online. Visit our website for information on bursaries and payment with your Autism Funds.

Job Posting – Information Officer with Knowledge of the South Asian Community

ACT Information Officers provide information, support and referral services to families raising children with ASD. This position is based in our Burnaby office and involves developing autism awareness and outreach to the South Asian community. Strong spoken Punjabi language skills and a knowledge of autism are requirements for this position. This contract position is 30-35 hours per week to the end of 2015, with the possibility of an extension. This position is funded through a grant from Autism Speaks Canada. If you have any questions, or to request a job description, contact To apply, send your resume and cover letter to with “ACT Information Officer” in the subject line.

Search ACT’s Autism Information Database (AID) for Summer Recreational Fun

submit-a-resourceLooking for a summer camp or other recreational activities for your child?  To see what is available in your community, check ACT’s very searchable online Autism Information Database (AID). There are over 130 listings to choose from, each with a short summary and current contact information.  Search using your postal code or city to find activities close to home!   If you know of a good summer program, that we haven’t listed, send it to us.

Call for Advisory Council Members for the Pacific Autism Family Centre (PAFC)

pafcThe Interim Executive Committee of the Pacific Autism Family Centre Foundation is forming a new Advisory Council for the Pacific Autism Family Centre Society. The Advisory Council will be the strategic body advising the Interim Executive Committee on service delivery and program design during the construction period of the Centre. There are opening for nominated members. For more information on the process, see the PAFC website.

Facing Your Fears: Free Anxiety Treatment Group

The Neuropsychiatry Clinic at B.C. Children’s Hospital invites applications for the “Facing Your Fears” therapy group specifically designed for the needs of 8-12 year olds with autism and clinically significant anxiety. They will begin screening families over the summer for groups running in the fall. Children, aged 8-12, must have average or above average verbal skills and a caregiver who can participate in the group. For full information, and to apply, call Julia Eng at 604-875-2345 ext. 2719. Questions? Call Dr. Melanie McConnell at 604-875-2345, ext. 5576.

Autism in the Media

Reports and Research

International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR)

With over 1800 attendees from 30 countries, the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) is the largest research-focused autism conference in the world. Held each May, it is where autism researchers meet to share the results of their studies.

See some of the interesting results featured this year:

Study demonstrates that parents notice early signs of ASD

Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, one of Canada’s leading autism researchers, has provided further evidence that diagnosticians should pay attention to parental concerns when considering an autism diagnosis. Read more about this University of Alberta study.

Post-Secondary Programs

Bachelor or Post-Bac in ABA at Capilano University

capilano-university-logoCapilano University offers both a Bachelor of Arts and a Post-Bac Diploma in Applied Behavior Analysis – Autism. There are still seats available for Fall 2015. Occasional students are also welcome and many classes are available on-line! Graduates of this program have very good job prospects and a high rate of acceptance to UBC’s Masters Program in Special Education. For more information, contact Dr. Richard Stock, BCBA-D at

ASD programs at Douglas College

douglas-college-logoDouglas College also has four ASD related programs: Behaviour Intervention, Classroom and Community Support, Disability and ABA, and Employment Supports Specialty. Application deadlines are extended to June, most classes begin in September. All programs are for academic credit and can ladder into another as you move forward in your career. For more information:

Douglas College’s BI Training Now Available in B.C.’s Urban Centres, Open to Parents

Are you a Behavior Interventionist working with a child or youth in British Columbia? Douglas College is now accepting applicants for their online autism training program from urban communities in B.C. This program, subsidized by BC’s Ministry of Children and Family Development, was originally limited to applicants from rural and remote locations but has been expanded. Parents who want to learn more about behaviour interventions based on the science of ABA, in order to work with their own children, are also welcome to apply.

Community Notes

Walk Now with Autism Speaks

autism-speaks-logoThere are ‘Walk Now’ walks in many communities throughout BC. Check the Autism Speaks website for all walk info and don’t forget to sign up for the Vancouver/Burnaby Walk Sept 27 at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby.

Inclusive Education Award Winners

To highlight National Inclusive Education Month and to bring attention to the many positive examples of inclusive classrooms and schools across the country, the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL) created a national certificate of recognition to be bestowed upon recipients who have made positive contributions to inclusive education in their province or territory. See the five 2015 winners here.

Canucks Autism Network participating in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge

Join CAN Sunday, June 28th at the Scotiabank 5K or Half Marathon. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge is a fun opportunity for runners and walkers to raise funds for charities within their community. Canucks Autism Network is once again participating in the event. Run or walk while supporting families living with autism in British Columbia.

Free Apps4Kids Hackathon

ipad_mini_3_handJoin students, developers, physicians, parents and parent groups at the Apps4Kids Hackathon, a free event on June 12-19, 2015 at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at UBC, in collaboration with professionals from the Department of Paediatrics at UBC and the Child Family Research Institute. The hackathon features groups of participants creating and refining apps that aim to solve medical care challenges for children and youth with chronic care needs, including children with autism.  If you are interested in participating or would like some more information, please visit


Research Summaries from York University


The ASD Mental Health website is sponsored by Jonathan Weiss, Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research at York University (who will be speaking for ACT on October 23, 2015. The site goal is to share research regarding mental health and autism. It has research summaries of studies published by a range of journals. These summaries are one to two pages long, and make the science more accessible to a wider audience. Access this site via the ACT Information Database.

Funding for Online Mental Health Training Program for Professionals

The BC Government has announced that ACT – Autism Community Training is being funded to develop an online training program to help qualified health professionals to better recognize the mental-health challenges that often impact children and youth with autism.

ACT is looking forward to working closely with the professional community to develop this training program in response to the high level of need for mental health services that families and individuals with autism report to us. We will be reporting to the autism community on progress as the project takes shape.

Free Report on Autism Interventions

The U.S. National Autism Center has released the results of the largest systematic review to date of interventions for ASD. The report identifies effective, research-based interventions for individuals across the lifespan. The findings identify 14 “Established Interventions” for children and adolescents that have the most research support, produce beneficial outcomes, and are known to be effective. Find the report in the ACT Information Database.

Research Study on Sleep and Autism Seeks Participants

PARENTS Research Study – Sleep and autism: Treatment barriers and facilitators

Did you know that between 50-70% of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have behavioural sleep problems?

Researchers from the University of Dalhousie are doing an online study to learn about parents’ experiences seeking and using treatment for insomnia in their children with ASD. This study will involve completing online questionnaires and participating in online, regional focus groups. Participation should take no more than 2 hours of your time. The study is being conducted through the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

If you are a parent of a child aged 4 – 12 who has ASD and behavioural sleep problems (currently or in past), you can help us identify ways to increase families’ access to and uptake of treatment for behavioural sleep problems in children with ASD.

Focus groups will take place on the following dates for parent participants from each region:

*     Western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) – Mon. May 25th, 2015, 7 – 8:30 p.m. M.D.T.
*     Ontario – Tues. May 26th, 2015, 7 – 8:30 p.m. E.D.T.
*     Quebec – Wed. May 27th, 2015, 7 – 8:30 p.m. E.D.T.
*     Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) – Thurs. May 28th, 2015, 7 – 8:30 p.m. A.D.T.
*     Northern Canada (Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Nunavut) – Fri. May 29th, 2015, 7 – 8:30 p.m. C.D.T.

Eligible participants will be entered into a draw to win a $50 gift card for They will also receive resources on treating sleep problems in kids with ASD, including a video presentation by the research team.

Find out whether you are eligible to participate! They ask that interested parents complete a brief online screening questionnaire. To find out more and to complete the questionnaire, please follow the link directly to the study: 

This study is being conducted by Kim Tan-MacNeill (Dalhousie University) as part of her PhD dissertation research, supervised by Dr. Penny Corkum (Dalhousie University LABS), and Dr. Isabel Smith (IWK Autism Research Centre). If you would like more information, please contact Kim Tan-MacNeill by email at