Category Archives: Media

May News Round-up

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Volunteer or Donate: Seymour Triple G Fundraiser for ACT

The 1st Annual Seymour Triple G Road Cycling Fundraiser is less than a month away. Donate, register to ride or come cheer the cyclists on! Saturday, June 25th, 2016 at Mount Seymour in 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 will demand heart, stamina and determination – much like the challenge autism presents for individuals and their families.

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, and Galileo Coffee near Britannia Beach, weekend mornings, until 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 (and eat!) breakfast at the top.

Email events@actcommunity.ca to volunteer.

ACT’s goal is to raise $10,000 to help us host more of our practical presentations aimed at helping families and professionals learn more about all aspects of autism , Autism Videos @ ACT (AVA) currently hosts 16 high quality videos available for free across B.C. We are over half-way to our goal, thanks to generous donations from the employees of Walmart Penticton, Oceanside Fisheries, Maria Carinha, Seymour Triple G riders and pledges to the Loma Bike team! Donate now to support ACT’s free resources.

6 New RASP Professionals – Kelowna, Fraser Valley, Victoria & Vancouver

As of end of May, there are 638 professionals listed on the RASP. The RASP is updated daily and can be searched by name, city, profession or language. Each News Round-Up, we feature the RASP professionals who have been added. These are the new additions for May:

Behavior Consultants (Category B – Supervised)
  • Rebecca Keller – Serves: Saanich, Sooke, Victoria
  • Stephanie Sywak – Serves: Abbotsford, Agassiz, Aldergrove, Chilliwack, Hope, Maple Ridge, Mission, Port Coquitlam
Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Celeste Coldwell – Serves: Kelowna
  • Courtney Fearon – Serves: Surrey, White Rock
Occupational Therapists
  • Claire Feltham – Serves: Chilliwack
  • Amy Yee – Serves: Burnaby, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, Richmond, Vancouver, West Vancouver

Correction from the April News Round-Up. This is a corrected listing for Carla Kirk- Behavior Consultant (Category B – Supervised): serves: Abbotsford, Agassiz, Chilliwack, Hope, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Surrey.

You may also be interested in Chapter 5 of ACT’s Autism Manual for B.C., Contracting with Professionals on the RASP with important information on contracts, timesheets and invoices.

ACT Seeking Designer & Translators in Arabic, Persian (Farsi) and Spanish

ACT is seeking to contract professional translators to translate MCFD’s A Parent’s Handbook: Your Guide to Autism Programs into Arabic, Persian (Farsi) or Spanish. A knowledge of autism and how the Autism Funding Programs work in B.C. is desirable. Interested candidates should contact Christine Hung chung@actcommunity.ca for more information.

ACT has already identified translation teams for the Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean and Punjabi versions of the Handbook. (See the MCFD News Release for details on this project) Work is beginning in June. If you are a native speaker of any of these languages and you would like to volunteer to proof or advise on wording, please contact Christine. As each version is completed we will announce it in the News Round-Up.

ACT is also seeking a contract print media designer, highly skilled in Adobe InDesign to support this project. Send your CV to Christine Hung chung@actcommunity.ca

“Dr. Joe” Wins UBC’s Killiam Teaching Prize

Dr. Joseph Lucyshyn, presenter for ACT, is the recipient of the 2015-2016 UBC Killam Teaching Prize. This prestigious award is in recognition of his dedication to students, teaching, and learning at the Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education Department at UBC: “His unwavering commitment to kindness and compassion shapes his teaching style, making for a unique and memorable learning experience for students.”

Parents of children with special needs across B.C. know Dr. Joe for his many presentations on behalf of ACT – from Sidney to Nanaimo, from Vancouver to Castlegar and North to Fort St. John. We respect him as an outstanding humanitarian whose commitment to helping parents use positive behavior support strategies to transform family life is inspirational. If you would like to see Dr. Joe present, go to AVA (Autism Videos @ ACT) and watch (free) Culturally Responsive PBS with Families of Diverse Cultural and Linguistic Backgrounds.

New AID Resources for B.C. Families & Professionals

The Autism Information Database (AID) hosts over 2,000 information and community resources. ACT’s staff source great information resources internationally as well as B.C- based support groups and service providers. We want to ensure we cover the province – please submit a new resource from your community.

Summer Camps Searchable on the AID

In May we have been busy collecting information on summer camps – summer is almost here and camps are filling up fast. There are currently over 100 B.C. summer camps listed on the AID. Narrow the search further by searching a specific city or use your postal code to see the closest options. A few examples of camps available on the AID:

  • The Canucks Autism Network (CAN) is running a Multisport Day Camp at the Shawnigan Lake School July 16 &17. See the AID link for CAN’s Vancouver Island programs for details.
  • Summer Social offers campers the opportunity to connect with peers while learning Social Thinking concepts. actcommunity.ca/resource/1615/
  • The Hands on Summer Camp from the Elizabeth Buckley School offers programming based on science, technology, engineering, arts and math and is for typical children as well as those with special needs, ages 4-12. actcommunity.ca/resource/1652/

New Tool: Identifying Levels of Social Communication

CanChild researchers at McMaster University have developed a new tool to help identify levels of social communication skills among children with ASD. The Autism Classification System of Functioning: Social Communication (ACSF:SC) provides a standardized and simplified way for clinicians, therapists, teachers, and parents to talk about what a child’s social communication abilities are. See the AID to read up on this new tool for details and contact information.

Video: The History of Autism and Vaccines

A link to The Vaccines Controversy: The history of the alleged relationship between autism and vaccine is available on the AID. This eight minute video explains the alleged link between vaccines and ASD and outlines various research studies.

ACT Funded by Canada Summer Jobs to Hire Students to Enhance the AID

ACT has received funding from Canada Summer Jobs to hire two summer students to work on the AID and other projects. This federal program helps not-for-profits like ACT to create summer job opportunities to allow students to gain experience.

Focus on Adults

Simon Fraser University’s Autism Mentorship Program this Fall

The SFU Autism Mentorship Initiative (AMI) is designed to support and engage SFU students with ASD in university life and to increase their potential for academic retention and success. Students with ASD have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a trained student mentor for up to two hours per week throughout each semester. New intake for Fall 2016; details online.

EmploymentWorks Canada

The EmploymentWorks Canada program supports youth or young adults with ASD who would like support in developing the skills to succeed in the workplace. The program is 2.5 hours of structured learning and 2.5 hours of workplace sampling each week for 12 weeks starting August 8th, 2016.

For more information, contact Brooke Straith, at 604-700-8614 or brooke@pacificautismfamily.com

Community Events Around B.C.

Did you know that ACT provides a free service to community organizations to advertise their events? Here are a few events that you may want to know more about – see details for these events and more at www.actcommunity.ca/education/non-act-events/

Abbotsford – Youth Choir & ASD Workshop

Auditions for The Mayday Club Youth Choir for Autism Advocacy
Supporting Children with Autism in Sports and Recreation

Burnaby – SFU Social Science Camp – July 16 & 23 – Register now!

This is the 5th Year that SFU has run this fun camp for children with and without autism or developmental disabilities. More info and registration details.

Squamish – Navigating Autism Intervention Services – Information for Parents

June 7, 2016, 9:30 am – 11:30 am at the Squamish Academy of Music. Join ACT in Squamish for a free information session led by Louise Broadley, Manager of Autism Information Services. Learn about navigating autism services and interventions available for children with autism living in B.C. RSVP via info@actcommunity.ca or by calling 1-866-939-5188. Download the poster for details.

(If you would like to host a visit by ACT to your community – email info@actcommunity.ca)

Penticton – Navigating Autism Intervention Services – Information for Parents

ACT’s Executive Director, Deborah Pugh, will be in Penticton on Tuesday, June 14th (receiving a cheque from the generous employees of Walmart Penticton for the Seymour Triple G Fundraiser supporting Autism Videos @ ACT). We will be taking advantage of this opportunity to meet with families on Tuesday, June 14th, 10:30 -12:30 am. Deborah will be demonstrating ACT’s free resources, including: Autism Videos @ ACT; the Autism Information Database and the Registry of Autism Service Providers online search. Location will be confirmed. For updates, check www.actcommunity.ca/education/non-act-events/ or call info@actcommunity.ca for details.

Richmond – Autism Speaks Canada Walks to the PAFC

Autism Speaks Canada’s annual fundraising walk has moved to the Pacific Autism Family Centre in Richmond, B.C. Join them this October. www.autismspeaks.ca

Submit your community event here.

Live Events: Michelle Winner, Pamela Crooke, Sarah Ward and Ken Cole

ACT hosts up to 20 events a year, bringing evidence-informed training to parents and professionals relevant to the autism and other special needs. These events are filling up rapidly. Register early to save and to ensure your seat. Not sure which event would be a good fit for you? Call an ACT Information Officer for individualized advice.

Download July – September Events Calendar

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications (POPARD) – Vancouver

July 11 – 15, 2016 (30 hours of instruction)

Kenneth Cole, PhD, RPsych
Consultant, Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders

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

Details and registration here.

Two Days of Social Thinking®

August 4 & 5, 2016

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP & Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP
Social Thinking, San Jose, California

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

Details and registration here.

($50 off if you register for both Social Thinking and Cutting Edge Strategies. See event page for details)

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications (POPARD) – Surrey

August 15 – 19, 2016 (30 hours of instruction)

Kenneth Cole, PhD, RPsych
Consultant, Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders

“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.”

Details and registration here.

Cutting Edge Strategies to Improve Executive Function Skills- Richmond

Sept. 15 & 16, 2016

Sarah Ward, MS, CCC-SLP, Co-Director,
Cognitive Connections LLP, Concord, Massachusetts

“I learned many practical strategies. I will definitely be implementing the “Get Ready, Do, Done” model and the clock!”

Details and registration here.

($50 off if you register for both Social Thinking and Cutting Edge Strategies. See event page for details)

Post-Secondary Training

ACT has just updated our website listing of post-secondary programs providing advanced and accredited training related to ASD at UBC, Douglas College, Capilano University and Surrey College. Browse the listings here and advance your education to the next level.

MCFD-Sponsored Online Autism Training

Are you a BI working with a child/youth in British Columbia? Are you a family member who wants to support children with behavior interventions based on the science of ABA? The MCFD sponsored Online Autism Training now accepts applicants from across B.C. Apply now – classes start in September. Reduced tuition – get academic credit for less half the price of other programs. Learn more.

Programs at Douglas College

Douglas College also has four ASD related programs: Behaviour Intervention, Classroom and Community Support, Disability and ABA, and Employment Supports Specialty. Application deadlines in 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: dacs@douglascollege.ca Apply Now!

Autism in the News

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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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March News Round-Up

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ACT Updates

Seymour Triple G Cycling Fundraiser & Autism Awareness Event

Seymour Triple G
ACT is very pleased to announce the first annual Seymour Triple G road cycling fundraiser. This event will raise cyclists heart rates as they climb Mt Seymour, and raise autism awareness and funds for the Autism Videos @ ACT project.  ACT’s free video project brings professionally filmed and edited videos to families and community professionals who cannot attend our live training.

As a part of this cycling challenge, riders will cycle up Mount Seymour – a 15km, 10% grade route! You can register to ride, or if you prefer not to take on that particular challenge, sponsor a ride or donate to ACT. ACT is also seeking volunteers for this event. Registration for the ride, to volunteer and to donate will open on April 13th. Stay tuned for details!

See below for updates from Autism Videos @ ACT

Two New Free Online Videos from AVA

Thanks to our sponsors, who make it possible for ACT to provide this free resource, we are releasing two new free online videos just in time for April – Autism Awareness Month:

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 at http://www.actcommunity.ca/videos/.

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.

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.

Coming soon:

One Parent’s Journey in Autism – in Punjabi – presented by Sunita Braich.

Taking Control of the Future – Planning for Families with Special Needs – presented by Blair Dwyer and Layli Antinuk, Dwyer Tax Law.

Urgent – 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.

Upcoming ACT Events

Live and Online: ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research – April 15 & 16

ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research Conference – Developing Culturally Responsive Research and Intervention Programing will highlight the needs of marginalized families who have children affected by ASD and other developmental disabilities who are not receiving adequate levels of support for their children. These families include First Nations, refugees, immigrants; all those isolated by virtue of language, culture or by living in rural or remote areas. There will be opportunities for discussion and information sharing while learning from those who are engaged in this important but neglected area of practice and research.  Researchers, clinicians, educators, social workers, parents and those who work for community organizations are urged to register.

Download the full schedule or visit www.actcommunity.ca/education/act-events/12th-annual-focus-on-research/ for details.

Parts of the program will be available via live web streaming video for those who register in advance.

Two Days of Social Thinking with Michelle Garcia Winner & Pamela Crooke – Vancouver

Many of the families who contact ACT are very concerned about how to help their children who have good language and average or above academic abilities but are still struggling with social awareness and interaction. It is this group of children and adults who are the focus of the Social Thinking approach. Michelle Garcia Winner, founder of Social Thinking, and Dr. Pamela Crooke are back, with two days of Social Thinking inspiration. These events are suitable for those already familiar with the Social Thinking curriculum.

Thursday, August 4Social Thinking – Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies. Delve into the inner mind of a person with social learning challenges though assessment tasks and video. You will also hear about factors to consider when running effective Social Thinking treatment groups.

Friday, August 5, Master Class – Exploring Key Social Communication Concepts through Hands-On Activities. Dive deeper into core Social Thinking strategies using videos and hands-on practice.  Longitudinal videos of four different clients will demonstrate how an individual’s competencies and focus of treatment changes across a span of 5, 10 and 15 years.

ACT thanks the Sheraton Wall Centre, our co-sponsors, for making it possible to bring this exciting event to Downtown Vancouver.  For more event details on both the conference and this beautiful venue, see www.actcommunity.ca/social-thinking-2016

Save money and register by the Early Bird Deadline – June 22nd.  Call 604-205-5467 or register online.

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications (POPARD) – July 11-15 – Vancouver

Registration is now open for the always popular five-day Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications course. It will be held July 11-15 in downtown Vancouver at SFU’s Harbour Centre. The workshop will be taught by Dr. Kenneth Cole. A requirement for teaching assistants in many school districts this course is also open to community professionals and parents. Only 30 seats are available – register soon.

In April, we will be able to confirm a location for the August 15-19th delivery of this course

AID Resources in Korean, Spanish, Punjabi and more!

As part of ACT’s commitment to supporting marginalized families, staff have been identifying evidence-informed resources in languages other than English as these are often a huge benefit to isolated families.  The AID – Autism Information Database  now has over 150 information resources in languages other than English including:

Do you have resources to recommend? Please email info@actcommunity.ca

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. This will be an issue for discussion at ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research (you are invited!).  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.

April Autism Awareness Month Community Activities

Autism Awareness in House of Commons

Mike Lake, MP for Edmonton-Wetaskwin and father of Jaden, gave his annual statement for World Autism Day. He says of his son:  “It is an indescribable joy to watch him grow up.” See a video of his statement in the House of Commons.

ACT is attending or sending materials to many of these walks. If you would like ACT materials at your Autism Awareness event, please email info@actcommunity.ca

Osoyoos Autism Behaviour Centre Walk for Autism – April 16th

It’s a StarWars theme for this year’s Walk for Awareness in Osoyoos. Starting at Osoyoos Town Square, registration starts at 11am on Saturday, April 16th. See their Facebook post or email Kim at kimlayman@hotmail.com for details. ACT information materials will be available at the walk.

Prince George Autism Awareness Walk – April 23rd

Join the 5th Annual PG Autism Awareness Walk. The walk will begin at 2:00 pm with a 2 km walk together to Lheidi T’enneh Memorial Park (ending at the playgound). Details on Facebook page. Hosted by the Northern Interior Autism Society and Autism Society of B.C.

2nd Annual Rock the Walk to Raise Awareness for Autism – Port Alberni – April 23rd

The Walk will start and finish at the Best Western Plus Barclay Hotel; registration begins at 1 pm. Stay after the walk for a hotdog BBQ, snack and games. Details on Facebook Page

5th Annual CAN Family Festival – April 24th, Vancouver

The Canucks Autism Network (CAN) on Sunday, April 24th will be at Jack Poole Plaza (Vancouver Convention Centre) for their 5th Annual CAN Family Festival in celebration of Autism Awareness Month. Participate in the autism awareness walk and lighting of the cauldron and enjoy live entertainment, food trucks, exhibitors, face painting, sports activities, trampolines, a mini skate park and more! With special appearances by Vancouver Canucks alumni.

For more information, or to start fundraising for the awareness walk, please visit www.canucksautism.ca/CANFamFest. ACT will have a table at this event.

Light it Blue for Autism – Autism Speaks Canada


Vancouver buildings will join more than 18,000 iconic landmarks, businesses, communities and homes in 143 countries and shine a bright light on World Autism Awareness Day April 2nd. Light it Blue or wear Blue, take a photo and post it using #LIUB or send tojanetanderson@autismspeakscan.ca Register at www.autismspeaks.org/LIUB  or check out www.autismspeaks.ca for ways to shine a bright light on autism.

EmploymentWorks Canada Programs

Developing Employment Skills for Young Adults with ASD


The EmploymentWorks Canada program supports youth or young adults with ASD who would like support developing the skills to succeed in the workplace.   The program is 2.5 hours of structured learning and 2.5 hours of workplace sampling each week for 12 weeks starting April 1, 2016.

Please contact Brooke Straith, EmploymentWorks Canada Program Coordinator, for more information at 604.700.8614 brooke@pacificautismfamily.com

Seeking Peer Mentors to Support Young Adults with ASD

Volunteer peer mentors between 18 and 29 years of age will support youth and young adults with ASD as they complete a pre-employment training program. This is an excellent opportunity to build your resume, broaden your network of professional contacts and learn about individuals with ASD as they transition to paid employment.  Please contact Brooke Straith, EmploymentWorks Canada Program Coordinator, for more information at 604.700.8614 brooke@pacificautismfamily.com

SFU Parent-Child Study on Social Skills

The Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University invites parents and children age 7-12, with or without ASD, to participate in research about how children develop social skills for communication and interaction. Parents and children will work together on fun and interactive games. Parents receive $30 and parking remuneration in thanks for participating in the three hour study. Please contact addl@sfu.ca to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Autism in the News

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February News Round-Up

News from the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation

Changes to PWD Benefits in British Columbia

People receiving Persons with Disabilities benefits will see changes as of September 1, 2016. There will be a $77 increase to the monthly allowance; however, recipients will lose access to an annual bus pass for $45.  Those who want to continue receiving a subsidized bus pass will pay $52 per month, plus the annual $45 administration fee. The Disability Alliance BC (DABC) provides a helpful  summary of the issues.  Inclusion BC is organizing a rally and a petition in protest. www.inclusionbc.org/

2016 Service Satisfaction Survey

The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation (MDSI) is offering its clients an opportunity to provide feedback regarding its service quality. The survey is open to all individuals who receive income or disability assistance. Participation is optional, anonymous and is not linked to eligibility. The survey will run from February 22 to March 29, 2016 and can be accessed online at www.sdsi.gov.bc.ca/myfeedback. Clients can also participate by telephone or request a paper version by calling toll-free: 1-877-223-8078 during working hours.

ACT Updates

12th Annual Focus on Research Conference: an Agenda for Change

Autism & Family Quality of Life – Developing Culturally Responsive Research and Intervention Programs
April 15 & 16, 2016, Vancouver early bird deadline ends Wednesday, March 9th
While autism awareness has grown exponentially in the last decade, many marginalized families across special needs are still not receiving adequate levels of support. The goal of this conference is to share perspectives and build relationships between community organizations, researchers, clinicians, educators and family members, to provide researchers with the important research questions that the community wishes to have answered. This event, co-sponsored by Simon Fraser University, features:

  • 11 presentations by 14 speakers
  • 2 panel discussions
    • Supporting Marginalized Families from the Trenches – Perspectives of Parent-Professionals
    • Setting Research Priorities that Address the Needs of Marginalized Families
  • Live online streaming for selected presentations (registration required)
  • Many opportunities to engage with other attendees

Download the complete schedule online or see the event details page for presentation descriptions and presenter biographies.

Join the conversation – Register online or call 604-205-5467 or 1-866-939-5188.

Ways to Support this Innovative Conference:

Updated! ACT’s Autism Manual for B.C.

ACT’s Autism Manual for B.C. contains 12 chapters brimming with helpful information relevant to the autism community, with many chapters relevant across special needs. The following chapters have been updated:

Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who contributed to making this information available to parents and professionals across B.C. Please see individual chapters for names of contributors. Browse all ACT’s Autism Manual for B.C. chapters.

New! Next Steps Guide now Available in Punjabi –
ਬ੍ਰਿਟਿਸ਼ ਕੋਲੰਬੀਆ ਵਿਚ ਔਟਿਜ਼ਮ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ ਹੋਣ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਅਗਲੇ ਕਦਮ

ACT’s Next Steps Guide is distributed to hundreds of families each year by both private and public diagnostic teams. ACT is pleased to announce that it is now available in Punjabi as well as English and Chinese. The Next Steps Guide is also very helpful as a resource for families who are rethinking their child’s intervention program or who want to know more about ACT’s services.

Many thanks to Autism Speaks Canada for their financial support for this translation. This project would not have been possible without Manpreet Singh, member of ACT’s South Asian Action Project (ASAAP), who has worked closely with ACT to fine-tune the translation. Recognition is also due to ACT’s designer Janice Harvey who designs for ACT in English, Chinese and Punjabi!

Download the Next Steps Guide from the New Diagnosis Hub in Punjabi, English and Chinese or contact ACT for hard copies. ਹੋਰ ਪੜਨ ਲਈ ਅਗਲੇ ਕਦਮਾ ਵਾਲੀ ਗਾਈਡ (ਪੀ ਡੀ ਐਫ) ਦੇਖੋ

10 New RASP Professionals Added in February 2016

Did you know that families can rapidly search the RASP to find professionals who speak their mother tongue? Amongst the 633 professionals listed on the RASP, over 32 languages are spoken! 10 professionals were added to the RASP in February, serving communities in Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Northern B.C., the Kootenays and Central Vancouver Island. The professionals below are accepting new clients:

Behavior Consultants (Category A – Non-supervised)

  • Lindsay Parrott – Burnaby, Cloverdale, Delta, Langley, North Delta, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, White Rock
  • Nicole Sweeney – Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Surrey

Speech-Language Pathologists

  • Heidi Coates – Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody
  • Stephen Pierson – Castlegar, Creston, Grand Forks, Kaslo, Nelson, Trail
  • Madeleine Catford – Burns Lake
  • Nicola Keohane – Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver

Occupational Therapists

  • Robyn Altmiks – Alert Bay, Port Hardy, Port McNeil, Sointula
  • Bashni Morarjee – White Rock
  • Marissa Lo – Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, West Vancouver

Browse at www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search by city, language, profession or name.

Professional Development Reminder for RASP Professionals

A reminder that RASP Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists are required to submit documentation of professional development in the area of autism every two years, when they renew their RASP status, according to MCFD policy. There are many organizations that provide relevant courses and workshops, in addition to ACT. To see what is coming up check the Non-ACT Events listing on ACT’s website.

For more information about RASP requirements, see:

Save the Date: POPARD’s Intro to ASD; Social Thinking and Executive Functioning

July 11-15, 2016 & August 15 -19, 2016 – Metro Vancouver
Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders – Practical Applications (POPARD)
Presented by Kenneth Cole, PhD
Details & registration coming soon

August 4 & 5, 2016 – Vancouver, BC
Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke – Social Thinking®
Details & registration coming soon

September 15 & 16, 2016 – Richmond, BC
Sarah Ward – Cognitive Connections LLP
Details & registration coming soon

Autism Awareness Radio Interview in Mandarin – April 1st

ACT 中文諮詢員Christine Hung 日前接受FM 96.1 紹蔚華主持人的專訪,介紹自閉症及相關服務。內容將於四月一日傍晚六點至七點於FM96.1居加生活Q&A 播放,歡迎華裔家長收聽。

For those of you who speak Mandarin, there is an opportunity to hear Christine Hung, ACT Information Officer, in conversation with Carmen Shao, hostess of “Living Q & A”. The interview will be broadcast on FM 96.1 on April 1, from 6-7pm and will include discussions of autism awareness in the Chinese community, early signs of ASD, what to do when a family has concerns, as well as services and support available.

CAN Volunteers Receive ACT Training Scholarships

Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the CAN/ACT Volunteer Training Scholarship! Angela Law, Priscila Sousa, Nessrin Kalo and Althea Feil were selected for the amazing level of support that they have provided to CAN programs as volunteers. This scholarship will provide each recipient with a $500 credit to be used towards registering for ACT’s live events. Find out more about the CAN/ACT Volunteer Training Scholarship.

Community News

New Brunswick Wins International Inclusive Education Award

New Brunswick has won an international award from Zero Project for its Policy 322 on Inclusive Education which establishes requirements to ensure that the province’s public schools are inclusive. For details see Zero Project Report 2016.

Advocating For Special Needs in BC Schools Conference

Saturday, April 2 – Vancouver, BC. Presented by BC Parents of Special Needs Students – Equitable Access to Education – Register online.

Sensory-Friendly Theatre Performance, March 19th, Vancouver

A relaxed performance of the play Go Dog Go is taking place on March 19th on Granville Island especially for individuals with special needs. This show will have ample space, adjusted sound and light levels, and pre-show family resources to help your family prepare. Details and ticket purchase.

CAN in Kamloops, Nanaimo, Duncan and Prince George

The Canucks Autism Network (CAN) will be providing a free autism workshop on Saturday, March 19th in Prince George. For details and to RSVP, email Sarah.Penner@nbcy.org.

CAN is also expanding into new communities. This spring, CAN is introducing:

  • soccer in Kamloops,
  • physical literacy in Nanaimo, and
  • learn-to-bike clinics in Duncan.

See a full listing of all new and recurring CAN programs,
or email info@canucksautism.ca.

Seeking Teen and Young Adults for Employment Works Canada program

This program is designed to support youth with ASD by encouraging employment readiness and developing employability skills necessary to succeed in the workplace. It will start this spring in Vancouver. Contact brooke@pacificautismfamily.com for details.

Job Opportunity: Behavior Consultant for Vancouver Coastal Health

Vancouver Coastal Health is seeking a Behavior Consultant. See complete job posting for details.

Post-Secondary Training Opportunities

ABA at Capilano University

The Bachelor of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis – Autism at Capilano University is accepting applications for September 2016. The ABA department is offering ABA 100 – Introduction to Behavior Principles. This course is open to any interested students and they encourage parents, BIs, SEAs, and others to apply. For more information on ABA courses at Capilano University, contact Dr. Richard Stock, BCBA-D at rstock@capilanou.ca

Four ASD-related Certificate Programs at Douglas College

Apply now and be eligible for early acceptance from one of Douglas College’s four ASD related professional programs: Behaviour Intervention Certificate; Classroom and Community Support Diploma; Disability and ABA Advanced Certificate and Employment Supports Speciality Advanced Certificate. For more information attend an information session www.douglascollege.ca

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