Monthly Archives: April 2016

April News Round-Up

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Seymour Triple G – Volunteer or Donate to Support ACT’s Free Resources

ACT is delighted to announce the 1st Annual Seymour Triple G Road Cycling Fundraiser. Donate, sign up to ride or come cheer the riders on Saturday, June 25th, 2016, Mount Seymour, North Vancouver.

Sponsored by Loma Bike, Mt Seymour, Cycling BC, and Brite Coaching, this fundraiser will challenge riders with a 15 km ride up a 7-10% grade. This ride is considered “hors catégorie” (more than a Category 1 climb), and will demand heart, stamina and determination – much like the challenge autism presents for individuals and their families.

Challenge your friends, family and colleagues to put together a team for the Seymour Triple G or donate online.

ACT is seeking volunteers for:

  • Promotions: Friendly, outgoing people to hand out brochures at high-traffic cycling areas including Horseshoe Bay, Mt. Seymour, SFU, Iona Beach, or Galileo Coffee near Britannia Beach, weekend mornings, from May to mid- June.
  • Photography: High quality photographers to take action photos of the riders and attendees on the day of the event. You’ll have to be fast!
  • Day of Event Support: Help us with setup and registration, cheer on the riders and serve breakfast at the top.

Please email info@seymourtripleg.ca if you are able to help.

Funds raised will go to the Autism Videos @ ACT (AVA) project, which hosts 16 free online videos on topics ranging from community recreation, education, toilet training, and the transition to adulthood. Funding will help expand and develop this free resource available to families and professionals when they need it as well as other autism awareness resources. All donations over $10 will receive a tax receipt. ACT’s Charitable Tax Number is #861691236RR0001

Go to www.seymourtripleg.ca for more information or email info@seymourtripleg.ca

MCFD’s Parent’s Handbook to be Translated into 8 Languages

ACT- Autism Community Training is pleased to announce that we have been funded by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to manage the translation of MCFD’s A Parent’s Handbook: Your Guide to Autism Programs into eight languages. We anticipate that these translations will help ensure that more families will have access to the information they need to make informed decisions about their child’s intervention program.

This project was announced by B.C.‘s Minister of Children and Family Development, the Honourable Stephanie Cadieux, at ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research Conference on April 15. The handbook will be translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Punjabi and Spanish. The work will begin this summer.

Download the English language version of A Parent’s Handbook. See the Ministry’s News Release for more details on this project.

Sign up for ACT’s Mailing List to receive ACT’s Monthly News Round-Up for updates on provincial autism news, including the release of these translations.

Key Ideas from the 12th Annual Focus on Research

ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research was a great success. There were opportunities to share at the lunch tables, on the posters in the foyer and during sessions. Selected presentations were webstreamed, reaching communities across B.C. When ACT has the funding available, the sessions we recorded will be edited and added to AVA – Autism Videos @ ACT.

Conference Highlights

Here are just few of the many interesting insights and ideas that came out of the conference:

The Invention and Reinvention of Autism – Dr. Roy Richard Grinker’s talk encouraged a second look at diagnostic tools to take into account cultural variations in child behavior. He encouraged professionals to consider whether or not it is culturally accepted to sustain eye contact, for adults and children to play together, or to point. If not, then these are insufficient diagnostic measures as it is necessary to consider cultural expectations for joint attention, play, or social interaction. Dr. Grinker’s fascinating book is well worth a read: Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism (www.unstrange.com).

An Aboriginal Perspective on Supporting Children and Families with Special Needs – Rona Sterling-Collins, a First Nations consultant and parent of an 18-year-old with autism, described how she organized the gathering of her extended family to share a meal and learn about autism after her son was diagnosed. The workshop included autism awareness information and an opportunity for discussion without the presence of Rona or her husband. This helped the extended family “have a better understanding of autism”.

Family Quality of Life and ASD Funding in B.C. – Dr. Grace Iarocci and Dr. Emily Gardiner talked about encouraging parents to engage in research by folding research into a fun summer camp for children. The tasks are embedded into games or puzzles, and the group (not individual) research results are eventually shared with families. See the ADDL lab page for details on 2016 camps.

Connecting with South Asian Families of Children with Autism – Preetinder Narang’s presentation focused on strategies for service providers to develop cross-cultural competence with the families they support. The content from this presentation will soon be available in a new chapter for ACT’s Manual for B.C. titled Guide to Working with South Asian Families Affected by Autism. Preetinder is a founding member of ACT’s South Asian Autism Project (ASAAP), a dedicated group of volunteers committed to raising awareness of autism in B.C.’s South Asian community.

Bilingualism and Language Development in Children with Autism – Dr. Pat Mirenda’s important presentation analyzed the research on whether the families of children with autism should continue to be discouraged from speaking their language of origin at home. Her conclusion was definitive – there is no reason to discourage families speaking multiple languages at home. Indeed to do so has many negative consequences including cutting off children with autism from their extended families and cultural and religious traditions. Download Dr. Mirenda’s handout for references to this research.

Memorable quotes

  • “Families experiences are likely to be different than those from the dominant culture and for those whose language is not the English language.” (Sunita Braich, Supporting Marginalized Families from the Trenches – the Perspective of Parent Professionals)
  • “Always say yes to tea” – speaking to the need to be polite and culturally sensitive. (Preetinder Narang, Connecting with South Asian Families of Children with Autism)
  • “Keep in mind the historical trauma that First Nations people, families and communities have gone through with colonization and residential schools.” (Rona Sterling-Collins, An Aboriginal Perspective on Supporting Children and Families with Special Needs)
  • “You know what I’m going to say, right? No significant difference” – with regards to language acquisition in bilingual homes. (Pat Mirenda, Bilingualism and Language Development in Children with Autism: One Language or Two?)
  • “Autism is not a ‘thing’, it is contextual and it is the intervention rather than the label that makes the difference” (comment on the poster board)

Seeking New Members for ACT’s Board of Directors

ACT – Autism Community Training is the primary source for objective information and support on autism in B.C. A not-for-profit society led by a Board of Directors, ACT is seeking three new board members in time for our AGM on May 31st. This year we are keen to identify candidates who understand the diverse concerns of families raising children with autism from the perspective of parents, siblings or other members of the extended family, as well as having professional expertise.

ACT’s Board is a governance board and does not involve itself in daily operations. Board members are called upon to provide the board with professional advice. Currently we would like to augment the considerable strength of ACT’s Board in the areas of human resources, media relations, marketing and fundraising.

For more information on ACT’s current Board see www.actcommunity.ca/about-us/board-members/. Those interested in finding out more, may contact the head of ACT’s Nominations Committee, Helga Marshall, c/o dpugh@actcommunity.ca.

The deadline for submitting a resume and cover letter to dpugh@actcommunity.ca is May 9, 2016.

Submit Summer Camp info to the Autism Information Database

Parents are thinking about summer camps already, and contacting ACT for suggestions. ACT’s Autism Information Database (AID) has a list of B.C. summer camps. If you are a service provider or camp director, please:

If you are looking for Behavior Interventionists to attend camp with your child, the Autism Information Database (AID) has several listings that may help:

Four New RASP Professionals – Fraser Valley, Terrace and Vancouver

Over the 12 months of 2015, 93 RASP professionals were approved, and 13 Behavior Consultants moved from category B to category A. This April, traditionally a slower month, four new RASP professionals have been added to the RASP.

Behavior Consultants (Category A – Non-supervised)
  • Carla Kirk – Serves: Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Hope, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Surrey
Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Kaali Kelso – Serves: Kitimat, Terrace
Occupational Therapists
  • Nushabah Zakir – Serves: Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Delta, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Surrey, Tsawwassen, West Vancouver
Physical Therapist
  • Megan Mak – Serves: Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Vancouver

Information on RASP requirements:

For more about individual RASP Professionals, their credentials, certifications and degrees, search and view RASP Professionals online: www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search/

Upcoming ACT Events in Vancouver, Surrey and Richmond

ACT is bringing back popular speakers and courses this summer, including Intro to ASD (POPARD) with Dr. Kenneth Cole, in Vancouver and in Surrey; a Master Class in Social Thinking with Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke and specialized instruction in Executive Function Skills with Sarah Ward.

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications (POPARD)

July 11 – 15, 2016 – Vancouver, B.C. Kenneth Cole, PhD, RPsych

“Amazing and useful information. I wish our whole staff could attend!!”

“Ken was excellent in presenting the information in a very natural, straight- forward way. He was always available to answer questions- offer suggestions and re-explain a concept.”

Two Days of Social Thinking®

August 4 & 5, 2016 – Vancouver, B.C. Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP & Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP

“You two have an amazing ability to engage listeners.”

“Thank you for your passion, compassion and commitment to supporting people with Social Thinking challenges.”

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications (POPARD)

August 15 – 19, 2016 – Surrey, B.C. Kenneth Cole, PhD, RPsych

“The biggest thing I learned was dealing with behaviours. I was struggling with this as a SEA and now I definitely have some very valuable tools that I can use.”

Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Executive Function Skills

Sept. 15 & 16, 2016 – Richmond, B.C. Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, Co-Director, Cognitive Connections LLP

· “Thank you so much, it was an absolute pleasure hearing you speak and learning such valuable skills to teach.””I learned many practical strategies. I will definitely be implementing the “Get Ready, Do, Done” model and the clock!”

Community Events

Training from Canucks Autism Network

The Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides autism training workshops throughout the year to build capacity in communities across British Columbia. Training equips community recreation staff, programmers, and managers with strategies for supporting children and youth with autism in community settings. Learn more about upcoming workshops in your community.

Autism Speaks Walks – Vancouver, Kitimat, Courtenay and Prince Rupert

Autism Speaks Canada Walk & Family Festival is open now for registration: www.autismspeaks.ca/get-involved/participate/walk-now-for-autism-speaks-canada/

BCaBA training at Capilano University

Capilano University has seats in both the Bachelor of Arts and Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis – Autism programs. Graduates meet the requirements to become Board Certified Assistant Behaviour Analysts (BCaBA). For more information, and to inquire about on-line study, please email Dr. Richard Stock at rstock@capilanou.ca

Autism in the News

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MCFD’s Parents Handbook to be Translated into 8 Languages

ACT-Autism Community Training will translate MCFD’s A Parents Handbook: Your Guide to Autism New Parents GuidePrograms into eight languages to improve information services for B.C’s diverse population.  The Parent’s Handbook will be translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Persian (Farsi), Punjabi and Spanish. Translations will begin in summer 2016, and will be announced as each is completed.

Download the English language version of A Parent’s Handbook.  See the Ministry’s News Release for more details on this project.

Sign up for ACT’s Mailing List to receive ACT’s Monthly News Round-Up and learn of local autism news, including the release of new Parent’s Handbook translations.

ACT Fundraiser: Seymour Triple G Road Cycling Ride

ACT is  to delighted to announce the 1st Annual Seymour Triple G Road Cycling Fundraiser.SeymourTripleGLogo

Donate, sign up to ride or come cheer the riders on – Saturday, June 25th, 2016 – Mount Seymour.

Sponsored by Loma Bike, Mt Seymour, Cycling BC, and Brite Coaching, this fundraiser will challenge riders with a 15 km ride up a 7-10% grade. This is considered “hors catégorie” (more than a Category 1 climb), and will demand heart, stamina and determination – much like the challenge autism presents for individuals and their families.

Funds raised will go to the Autism Videos @ ACT (AVA) project, which hosts 16 free online videos on topics ranging from community recreation, education, toilet training, and the transition to adulthood. Funding will help expand and develop this free resource available to families and professionals when they need it as well as other autism awareness resources.

All donations over $10 will receive a tax receipt. ACT’s Charitable Tax Number is #861691236RR0001

ACT is seeking rider registrations, donations, sponsors and volunteers.

Go to www.seymourtripleg.ca for more information or email info@seymourtripleg.ca

 

The Seymour Triple G is also on Facebook: www.facebook.com/seymourtripleg/

Autism in the News

For more Autism news, follow ACT on Facebook

New Punjabi-Language Video: Introduction to Individualized Education Plans

Punjabi-language: Introduction to Individualized Education Plans

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), when done well, track goals and progress for students with autism and other developmental disabilities. This  free online video in Punjabi, part of AVA – Autism Videos @ ACT (AVA), describes the process for developing an IEP and what the school and parent can do to support the IEP process. Presented by Raminder Kaur, a behavior consultant with posAbilities, this presentation was developed by Parbinder Bains and Preetinder Narang, both Board Certified Behavior Analysts and Special Educators with the Surrey School District. All three are members of ACT’s South Asian Autism Project (ASAAP). See the ACT in Punjabi page for more information on ASAAP’s work. This video was sponsored by Autism Speaks Canada, Surrey Schools and Simon Fraser University.

Seeking Psychiatrists Prepared to Assess Autism in Adults

ACT is receiving an increasing number of calls from adults across B.C. seeking an autism assessment. We are very concerned, despite extensive research, that ACT has not been able to identify publicly funded professionals prepared to assess adults.  Few of the adults who contact us have the funds to have an assessment done by a psychologist, as this is not publicly funded. Psychiatrists are covered by the B.C. Medical Services Plan but ACT is having increasing difficult in identifying psychiatrists who are willing to see adults who are concerned that they may have autism.  The few psychiatrists that ACT is aware of have extensive waitlists.  If you know of a psychiatrist, or you are a psychiatrist, who is prepared to work with adults who are seeking an assessment for autism, please email info@actcommunity.ca.

Webstreaming: ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research.

For technical help, read here! 

Participate in ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research – online!

Autism & Family Quality of Life – Developing Culturally Responsive Research and Intervention Programming

New! Join us for live online webstreaming for this conference. Register for webstreaming before April 13th:  Register online or call the ACT office at  604-205-5467 or toll-free at 1-866-939-5188. Registered viewers will be emailed a link and password to the online streaming page on April 14.

For more information, visit the event details page or download the complete schedule. Read up on the technical tips before the event.

It’s Easy: The platform being used is similar to YouTube – if you can watch YouTube videos, you can watch the live webstreaming!

It’s Engaging: Live online streaming video includes a chat function facilitated by ACT staff. You will be able to post questions that will be passed to the speaker at an appropriate time, and be able to text chat with other online attendees.

It’s Accessible: Register now. Registered viewers will be emailed a link to the online streaming page on April 14. 

Selected talks (listed below) will be web streamed online for registered viewers.

Why webstreaming? ACT brings in top speakers for 15-20 events a year, and we know that not everyone can attend our live events, due to geography, cost, or organizational challenges. We have been working on increasing accessibility to our training opportunities, first by filming select events and putting them online as part of Autism Videos @ ACT. This year we are branching out to live online streaming video.

About this event

This conference will provide a forum for researchers, clinicians, educators, parents and those who work for community organizations to address the realities facing marginalized families who have children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. These families include First Nations, refugees, immigrants; all those isolated by virtue of language, culture or by living in rural or remote areas.

The goal of this conference is to build relationships between researchers, community-based clinicians, community organizations and families to facilitate collaboration to better support under-served members of our communitieis. In particular, we are hoping to provide researchers with the important research questions that the community wishes to have answered, but incorporating panel discussions and other opportunities to share experiences, perspectives and information.

 Download the complete schedule for a list of which presentations are being live webstreamed. 

8 New RASP Professionals Added in March

8 New RASP Professionals

In March 2016, 8 professionals were added to the RASP, serving communities across the province such as:  Salmon Arm, Maple Ridge, Port Alberni, Castlegar and New Westminster. See below for hints on how to get more professional services in under-served communities.

Behavior Consultants (Category A – Non-supervised)

  • Elisa Hill – Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Delta, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Port Moody, Surrey, White Rock
  • Jacqueline Pun – Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver
  • Carly van Boven – Armstrong, Enderby, Kelowna, Lake Country, Salmon Arm, Vernon
  • Nicola McCorquodale – Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver

Behavior Consultants (Category B – Supervised)

  • Jasmine Bracken – Vancouver

Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Sumi Choudhury – Nanaimo, Parksvile, Port Alberni, Qualicum Beach

Occupational Therapists

  • Laura Munoz – Castlegar, Kaslo, Nakusp, Nelson, Salmo, Trail
  • Julia Blanchard – Castlegar, Creston, Fruitvale, Nelson, New Denver, Rossland, Salmo, South Slocan, Trail, Ymir

How to Access Professionals for Rural & Remote Families

While there are over 600 professionals on the RASP, many areas of the province are under-served. ACT has been developing the search tool for the RASP to help rural and remote families identifying possible professionals. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Families in small communities work together to pool your autism funding to bring in professionals to see multiple families over a few days. Search the RASP for professionals willing to travel.
  • FaceTime or other videoconferencing tools: As technology improves it is easier to use these methods to consult with professionals. The RASP can be searched to find professionals who use videoconferencing.
  • Call the ACT Office and speak to an Information Officer for individualized support

See ACT’s website for details on these ideas: Accessing Services in Smaller or Isolated Communities. Share your ideas on connecting families and professionals across British Columbia.  Email info@actcommunity.ca or call an ACT Information Officer 1-866-939-5188.

New Video: Identifying and Treating Co-occurring Mental Health Challenges in Children with ASD

When Dr. Vikram Dua presented this talk for ACT last year, the event was sold-out. For those of you who missed this great presentation, it is now available for free online as part of AVA – Autism Videos @ ACT.

Dr. Dua (who is now Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Surrey Place Centre in Toronto and sorely missed in B.C.), describes how children with ASD frequently have co-occurring mental health challenges, including ADHD, anxiety disorders and tic disorders, which can be more disabling than autism. He introduces his approach, the Autism Comorbidity Algorithm (ACA), which frames and guides clinical and diagnostic assessment and treatment decisions through a developmental lens. While aimed at clinicians and community professionals, many families will find this a very useful orientation to the widely misunderstood linkages between autism and mental health given the significant shortage of mental health professionals with knowledge of autism in B.C.