Category Archives: ACT Resources

ACT Acknowledges the Tragedy of Canada’s Residential Schools with Practical Support for Indigenous Communities

Canada Day 2021 is provoking mixed feelings among Canadians including shame that Canada has done so little to mitigate the horrific legacy of residential schools, despite calls to investigate the fate of Indigenous children who disappeared while in government care. Now we are confronted by evidence of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous children. ACT believes that offering practical support is the most effective way to express ACT’s respect for Indigenous communities.

At our recent Annual General Meeting, ACT announced to our membership that we would provide free registration to our workshops and events for Indigenous organizations and families affected by autism and related conditions as a practical way of providing support to communities that continue to be severely marginalized.

All that is necessary is to submit a bursary application – apply for Executive Functions Skills with Sarah Ward directly here. We would also like to offer the support of our staff for Indigenous families who wish to better understand the Autism Funding Program but do not want to contact offices of the Ministry of Children and Family Development. We can be contacted at info@actcommunity.ca or toll-free at 1-866-939-5188.

ACT’s Updated ‘New Diagnosis Hub’ – Now also in Chinese!

blankACT’s ‘New Diagnosis Hub‘ has been updated in English to help families receiving a new diagnosis of autism for their child. It provides clear information on how to access government-funded services in British Columbia and how to spend the funds wisely. It is also helpful to families who may have received a diagnosis some time ago but are wanting to rethink their child’s program. 

ACT has also translated the New Diagnosis Hub in Chinese, as part of ACT in Chinese, to meet the needs of many families across BC. There are several other large immigrant communities, as well as deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, we would like to better serve by providing captioning and translation. It is very difficult to understand autism and services if you don’t have a strong command of English. Indeed it is very challenging even if you do. Please support ACT’s ability to caption and translate resources in additional languages by donating to our special translation fund.

Visit the New Diagnosis Hub


blank新手家長的下一步

ACT 的這個新診斷中心,是要幫助卑詩省新確診為自閉症譜系障礙(通稱自閉症)兒童的家長們建立一個有效的治療計劃。中心內的資訊同時也適用於一些孩子已經得到診斷有些時日,但正在重新考慮孩子治療計畫的家庭。

新診斷中心 New Diagnosis Hub

Free Early Intervention Resources for Home | Submit Summer Activity Opportunities

blankSubmit your Listing to ACT’s Community Events Page

With social distancing measures still in effect, the range of options for the summer are limited. To help families find what is available, ACT is gathering information on virtual summer camps and fun activities for school-age kids to be posted on a new Summer 2020 BC Community Events page. If you have a camp, program or event to share with families who have children with a range of special needs, please submit your resource. Please note that we are looking for more specialized resources that will address the needs of neuro-diverse children.

Make a Submission Here


Early Intervention Resources for the Home Environment

blankThere are thousands of children across Canada whose autism assessments have been delayed for several months at this point. As the wait time for a publicly-funded assessment in BC was up to 60 weeks even before the pandemic, forcing families to seek a private diagnosis at a cost in the range of $3,000 – $4,000, many families are highly stressed. To help families find ways of engaging with their young children who have either just been diagnosed, or where autism is suspected, ACT has gathered resources on our COVID-19 Page. These suggestions, illustrated by great videos, are focused on play based interventions. Even if a child does not have autism, these suggestions are helpful to encourage communication and social development and have been developed by world leaders in this field.

View ACT’s COVID-19 Waiting for Assessment Resources


blankLooking for some fresh ideas on how to engage your young child who has either been recently diagnosed or where you have concerns about social communications?

Perhaps you work in public health, IDP or in a CDC which has been forced to close? We would welcome professionals forwarding this resource to families who are awaiting a diagnosis or early intervention services.

Don’t miss the free recording of Dr. Pat Mirenda and Dr. Paola Colozzo of UBC: “What Can I Do with My Child All Day? Strategies for Supporting Young Children” It provides a guilt-free framework for thinking about how to encourage engagement in the home – setting realistic expectations for overstretched parents.

We urge parents to watch it – it’s only an hour – and hope that early intervention providers will share the link with their families and help them identify the ideas/resources that are a good fit for their child. The PDF Handout contains example activities, resources, and websites.

Watch this Presentation


Resources to Encourage Social Communication

In addition to the free web stream above, the links to the programs below provide families tips on what to do to encourage social communication while they are waiting for a diagnosis. Ideally there is an early educator, a speech pathologist, or an Infant Development Program worker who knows the child too, and can provide advice remotely. We are not suggesting that parents become therapists, but these programs provide more sharply tuned approaches to parenting.

For children who have a language delay these resources will generally be easier to implement. For those who go on to be diagnosed with autism, it is often harder for families, but the techniques are the same. They are geared toward play and fun!

blank Autism Navigator is a unique collection of web-based tools and courses that uses extensive video footage to bridge the gap between science and community practice.

blankThe Early Start Denver Model is a relationship-based early intervention model created to work with very young children with, or showing signs of, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).


Challenging Behaviors: Positive Behavior Support is Key!

The resources below focus on helping families re-consider the challenging behaviours that some of their children engage in. Usually these behaviors occur because the child is frustrated, as they do not understand and can not communicate what they want. The approach of Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is very helpful to change a negative dynamic in the home and ACT has a number of free online videos that can help families understand how to support their child with practical information that is parent-friendly. While you may need more professional support to really take advantage of this approach, watching these videos will help you become a better informed consumer of professional services.

Positive Behavior Support: What Parents Need to Know!

Brenda Fossett, PhD, BCBA-D

Toilet Training for Children with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities

Pat Mirenda, PhD, BCBA-D

Solving Sleep Problems in Children with ASD

Beth Ann Malow, MD, MS

Visual Support Strategies for Individuals with ASD

Brenda Fossett, PhD, BCBA-D

View all PBS videos


COVID-19 Resources on Autism and Special Needsblank

ACT is continuing to update information on advocacy efforts and resources on our COVID-19 page. We welcome your suggestions for new resources at info@actcommunity.ca.

View ACT’s COVID-19 Page

ACT’s News Round-Up: September 2019 Edition

New ACT Guides for Schools and on Mental Health

ACT has prepared a new set of guides to our free online resources, including Autism Videos @ ACT. These guides are organized to help educators, mental health professionals, and families to discover the many resources that ACT offers.

Visit the ACT Print Materials page to download these guides. ACT can mail copies to your school or organization upon request.

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Special Needs Community Events

ACT’s Community Events listing highlights training and events provided by organizations across B.C. Below are a few of the upcoming events.

You are welcomed to submit your organization’s events.

September & October Events

Community Outreach Event at WE PLAY KIDS GYM
Saturday, September 21 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm , Surrey

Intuitive/Expressive Arts for Kids
Saturday, September 21 – Saturday, November 30 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm , Surrey

Mindfulness for Autistic Adults
Thursday, September 26 – Thursday, October 31, Online Workshop

TAGteach Workshop for Parents and Professionals
Saturday, September 28 – Sunday, September 29, North Vancouver

Sibshops
Sunday, September 29, Surrey

CONNECT with PEERS for Teens
Tuesday, October 1 – Tuesday, December 17 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm , Burnaby

Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) Course – 8 Week Training & Silent Retreat
Tuesday, October 15 – Tuesday, December 10 6:15 pm – 8:45 pm , Vancouver

View more


Upcoming ACT Events

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Starts next week! Web-streaming spots are still available. Details here.

Volunteers are needed for this event!
Volunteers receive complementary in-person registration and a certificate of attendance. Please email info@actcommunity.ca to apply.


POPARD’s District Training Model - Friday, October 25th, 2019 - Alexandra Voroshina, MA, BCBA & Georgina Robinson, PhD

In this one-day presentation, Alexandra Voroshina will present an overview of POPARD’s Student Cooperation Training (SCT) Model. Details here.


Save the date: Upcoming ACT Events

November 15, 2019
Introduction to Navigating BC’s School System
A POPARD Presentation

November 22, 2019
Supporting Indigenous Families Affected by Autism through Engagement and Research
ACT’s 2019 Focus on Research Gathering

November 29, 2019
Behaviors and Mental Health – an Introduction for Families of Children with Special Needs
A POPARD Presentation


Participate in Autism Research

ACT believes that encouraging research is crucial to building knowledge of evidence-informed approaches to help individuals with autism and other conditions. We devote a page on ACT’s website to informing autistic adults and parents of children with ASD about university-affiliated projects which may be of interest.

Visit the Participate in Autism Research page to see all current research projects and project contact information.

Here are few projects which are recruiting volunteers:

  • Virtual Mindfulness for Autistic Adults
  • “Autism in Practice”: Establishing, Maintaining, and Understanding Friendship Among Adults Diagnosed with Autism in British Columbia
  • How People with ASD Experience and Understand Online Gaming as a Communication Learning Platform: A Phenomenological Approach

Submit Your Research Project

Use our online form to submit your university-affiliated research projects related to the field of autism and special needs. It may take up to one week to post.


Autism in the News

ACT carefully sources insightful stories, ranging from research and government policy, to the world of entertainment, culture, and lifestyle.

Join ACT’s Facebook page for all the latest updates.

Summary of Engagement and Research FindingsThe Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) is developing a service framework to guide how it provides and funds Children and Youth with Special Needs programs and services for implementation in Spring 2020.

Read the Summary of Engagement and Research Findings (PDF)

Details of the framework timeline are available on the MCFD’s website here.


Children with disabilities were excluded from B.C. schools more than 3,600 times last year: report – Global News

There’s no evidence caesarean sections cause autism or ADHD – The Conversation

Greta Thunberg is right: Autism is her superpower. Those who mock her should learn from her – Salon

Lawyer with autism finds her voice – ABA Journal

Artist with autism writes book to help others ‘get the help they need’ – BBC News

Father fuming, board investigating after autistic child sent home on bus with broken ankle – The Standard

“You’re Just Kooky”: Why Women With Autism Aren’t Taken Seriously – Yahoo News

Teen with autism upset after being transferred to a new school — without her knowledge – CBC News

Language expert teaches autistic child to communicate through pictures during long-haul flight – Independent

Autistic Vancouver boy gets to meet his Idol – Vancouver Sun

‘It can cause trauma’: Autism services group concerned after education minister lifts seclusion room ban – Edmonton Journal

Alberta lifts ban on seclusion rooms in schools – The Globe and Mail

A boy with autism wouldn’t sit still on a United Airlines flight. So crew and passengers stepped in to help. – CNN

After mother’s plea, kindergartner will go to school 5 days a week – CBC News

Autism Wristband That Predicts Aggressive Outbursts in Children With 84 Percent Accuracy Created by Scientists – Newsweek

Autism was tough on this B.C. pair. This is how they’re making it easier for others – CBC News

ACT’s News Round-Up – July 2019 Edition

Special Needs Community Events

ACT uses our Special Needs Community Events listing to share information provided by many different organizations. Below are a few of the upcoming events. To see what is happening around the province, visit Special Needs Community Events You are welcomed to submit your organization’s events. Over 7,000 individuals and agencies receive ACT’s News Round-Up.

August & September Events blank

Social Sprouts 2 (Ages 4-6)
August 12-16, Surrey

Social Sprouts 2 (Ages 7-11)
August 12-16, Surrey

Summer Crew Camp (Ages 7-13)
August 19-23, Burnaby

LEGO Assisted Social Skills Camp
August 26-30, Delta PEERS© in the Valley for Young Adults
Mondays from September 16 – December 16, Abbotsford

PEERS© in the Valley, Pre-teens & Teens
Mondays from September 16 – December 2, Abbotsford

View Community Events


Special rates for those with a disability!

BC Ferries Disability Card & Access2Cardblank

Did you know there are a number of programs that can apply to special kids and adults that can make summer travel more affordable?

BC Ferries Disability Card

  • Discount fares are available for the person with a disability and his/her escort that will save one-half the regular passenger fare for both you and your travelling companion.
  • To receive this rate, you must present a BC Ferries Disabled Status Identification (DSI) Card. Discounts do not apply to vehicle rates.
  • Apply on the BC Ferries website

Access2Card

  • The Access2Card helps those with disabilities who require assistance to access entertainment and recreation at participating venues across Canada, including movie theaters, the Vancouver Aquarium, and Britannia Beach Mine Museum.
  • The person with a disability pays regular admission and the support person receives free admission.
  • Complete the application form here – membership charges apply.

NEW! Find more information on other discounts including camping, fishing, travel, and transit, on ACT’s Recreation & Travel Passes for People with Disabilities page.

Visit the Recreation & Travel Passes page


Submit your photos

Share your Family Photos with ACT 

ACT is looking for photos of children, teens and adults with autism hanging out with their friends, siblings, school mates, parents and grandparents, or on their own having fun.

We use these photos to add life and personality to our print and online materials and to portray people with autism around BC enjoying life in our communities.

To submit your photos, email them to info@actcommunity.ca 

Visit our Share Your Family Photos page for more information on how we use submitted photos. Below are some of the submitted photos we’ve used in our emails, website, and in our print guides. blank

Submit Your Photos 


Participate in Autism Research

Research is crucial to build our knowledge of what are evidence-informed approaches to help individuals with autism and other conditions. Below are selected listings of university-affiliated research projects which parents and community professionals may be interested in exploring.

  • How People with ASD Experience and Understand Online Gaming as a Communication Learning Platform: A Phenomenological Approach
  • Participants Needed for UBC Study on ASD and Bilingualism
  • Addressing the Needs of Students with Autism with Self-Injurious Behaviour: A Narrative Inquiry
  • Healthcare services, stress, and resilience among Canadian children with disabilities

Visit the Participate in Autism Research page to see all current research projects and project contact information.

Submit your research project

Use our online form to submit your university-affiliated research projects related to the field of autism. It may take up to one week to post.


Autism in the News

ACT carefully sources interesting, insightful stories to inform our 6,000 plus followers on ACT’s Facebook page

B.C. serves up $6.3 million boost to province’s respite program – Cloverdale Reporter

$2 an hour for 20 years: Woman with Down syndrome gets chance at minimum wage – CBC News

Majority of autism risk resides in genes, multinational study suggests – Spectrum News

Autism awareness: ‘Better teacher training needed’ – BBC News

Autism, explained: What’s the spectrum and how it develops – Global News

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra launches program for kids with autism – CTV News

South Surrey parent takes continuity concern to teacher-regulation branch – Surrey Now-Leader

New Dating App Hiki Helps People With Autism Find Love and Friendship – NBC NY

6 Misconceptions About Autism Debunked By an Autistic Adult – Yahoo

Alberta disability funding delays worry parents, advocates – Edmonton Journal

Elementary school assistant jailed for sharing pictures of her grandchildren with online predator – CBC News

Medical conditions may mark distinct autism subtypes – Spectrum News

‘It’s surreal’: Vancouver Canuck Quinn Hughes surprises fan with autism at graduation – CTV News

New York High School Holds Heartwarming ‘Silent Graduation’ So Student With Autism Can Receive Diploma – CBS NY

New Autism NS program teaches about healthy relationships – Halifax Today

Blind autistic singer’s church performance attracts America’s Got Talent – BBC News

Special needs kids getting suspended, sent home from school: Autism Calgary – Calgary Herald

Large study supports discarding the term ‘high-functioning autism’ – Spectrum News

Children wise to fear hand dryers, and 13-year-old proves it with published paper – CBC News