Category Archives: Office news

ACT is moving!

As of Friday, January 19th ACT’s new address will be:
204 – 2735 E Hastings St
Vancouver, BC
V5K 1Z8

Our phone number and other contact information remains unchanged.

We will be moving to our new offices on Friday, January 19th. Please email for any inquiries on that day.


Holiday News Round-Up


Volunteer Adam Elsharkawi putting together ‘New Diagnosis Parent Packages’ for diagnostic centres around B.C.

Thanking our Donors & Volunteers for Providing New Families with Key Information

ACT provides parents of newly diagnosed children in B.C. with information on ACT’s resources – ACT is Canada’s leading source of comprehensive, evidence-informed, online resources.

As ACT is no longer funded by MCFD to provide our ‘New Diagnosis Parent Packages’, we depend on volunteer support and donations from the autism community.

The generosity of the autism community in supporting our Holiday Fundraising Campaign is appreciated. See ACT’s website for key projects, how to donate and recognition of our generous donors.

Special Needs Community Events – January 2018

To see what is happening around the province, and to post your organization’s events, visit Special Needs Community Events

Parent Training for Disruptive Behaviors in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Clinician Workshop
January 19, Vancouver

Parent Training to Address Problem Behaviours of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities
January 20, Richmond

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications – POPARD (Vancouver)
January 22 – 26, 2018 – Vancouver, BC

Early Years Conference 2018
January 25 – 27, Vancouver

PEERS for Teens – ABA Learning Centre
January 25 – May 3, Burnaby

ACT’s 2018 Eventsblank

ACT’s 2018 schedule is set! Many outstanding presenters, including Carol Gray, Judy Reaven, Michelle Garcia Winner, Brenda Fossett and Sarah Ward, are set to provide ACT’s audiences with insights to inspire and inform. To see this year’s line-up, visit upcoming events.

Introduction to ASD – Practical Applications – POPARD (Vancouver)
January 22 – 26, 2018 – Vancouver , BC

“I’m going to be a video game designer!”- Helping Teens Prepare for the REAL Adult World
February 23rd, 2018 – Sidney, BC

Faster than a Speeding Bullet: iPads in Autism Intervention
March 10th, 2018 – Vancouver, BC

Visit upcoming events and web streaming events for more details and registration.

Parents can register for $25 a day, please email
Details on our event bursaries page.

Update on ACT’s Special Projects

Parent Coaching Project

2017 saw the inception of the PACE Coaching Project by researchers at UBC, following a competition overseen by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

The goal of PACE Coaching is to develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based parent coaching intervention for children aged 15 to 30 months who are at risk of, or diagnosed with ASD. ACT was given responsibility by B.C.’s Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to administer this $3 million, three year project, in March 2016.

Visit the PACE Coaching Project page for updates and new developments on this important initiative.

Translated into 8 Languages – A Parent’s Handbook: Your Guide to Autism Program

ACT thanks all those volunteers from the autism community who have ensured the sensitive and accurate translations of MCFD’s A Parent’s Handbook: Your Guide to Autism Programs (2015) into eight languages: Punjabi, Korean, French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish and Arabic! The handbook is nearly 50 pages long – each language required many hours of painstaking work.

These translations can be found at Autism Information Services B.C. As MCFD took over many of the services that ACT formerly provided under contract, in the middle of this project, these handbooks will need to be updated by MCFD to match the 2017 English version. As soon as these are available, ACT will let you know!

Community professionals will find the translation of key terms used in B.C.’s autism program, as well as general concepts about autism to be very useful to helping new parents. ACT thanks MCFD for the opportunity to provide this key information to B.C.’s immigrant communities.

Autism in the News

ACT’s Facebook page just reached 3,000 likes!
To keep in touch with Special Needs issues provincially, nationally and internationally –
Visit ACT on Facebook.

Immigration Canada reverses decision, grants residency for family denied over child’s disability – Global News

Little boy’s touching video explaining his autism to his classmates goes viral
– Global News

Why intelligence scores do not predict success for autistic adults – Spectrum News

Banned from regular school life, boy with autism asks: ‘When am I going to see kids?’ – CBC News

Call for better autism diagnosis data for girls – Radio NZ

Children with autism tour Kelowna International Airport – Global News

‘They consider that education, I guess’: Father of autistic boy speaks out – CBC News

Family’s heart-rending case prompts call for autism strategy – CBC News

5 things not to say to parents of autistic children – BBC Radio

Autistic Canadians struggling for access to tax credit, says activist – iPolitics

Study shows special needs hard to meet in B.C. public schools – The Free Press

How Does Autism in Children Affect Parenting Stress?
– Medical News Bulletin

Room for Improvement: Toward better education outcomes for children in care – Representative for Children and Youth BC

It’s time for Canada to measure up on kids with disabilities – The Star

Halloween Edition ACT’s News Round-Up

A Halloween story, seeking an admin assistant, community events and more!

Child in pumpkin patch

Share your Halloween Story via Facebook

As parents across Canada get their children with special needs ready for Halloween, I am thinking back to 1994 when my then three-year-old son had his first experience of Halloween, after our family returned to Canada from Egypt. We managed only three houses before we had to give up and return home. Rather than saying “Trick or Treat” – Adam would dart into the house and snatch the candy. He was very confused by the whole process. But an hour later (and for the next several nights), Adam started to get his costume on by himself (and normally he only took clothes off) as he had realized costume = candy! In the many years since, Adam has become a Halloween connoisseur but I still remember those early, stressful, but very funny days!

So the message to parents is that Halloween does become easier! Do you have a Halloween story to share? ACT’s Facebook page is very active these days – we are sourcing news and research from across the globe to share with the ACT community. In October we reached 2,550 page likes! But parents always enjoy hearing of the experiences of other families. If you have a Halloween tale to share with ACT’s community post on ACT’s facebook page.

Deborah Pugh – Executive Director
ACT – Autism Community Training


ACT is seeking a Part-Time Office Assistant

These are busy days at ACT and we need some extra admin support. We are looking for a part-time office assistant with an excellent telephone manner and competence with Microsoft CRM systems, Excel and Word. Must be organized, highly accurate and enjoy multitasking! Knowledge of autism an asset.
Hours are flexible, up to 20 hours a week; occasional weekend work. $20 an hour – to start as soon as possible. If you are interested in working with a great organization, respected as the leading source of evidence-informed training and information in B.C., in the company of a friendly group of committed people, email your resume and cover letter to . This position will be filled as soon as we find a strong candidate.


Special Needs Community Events in November

View and post events in your community on
Special Needs Community Events

Spectrum Lights Parent Group presents Family Information Sessions -November 2nd, Burnaby

Canadian Premiere of “Keep The Change” (Tribeca Film Festival Award Winning Film Starring Actors on the Autism Spectrum) – November 2nd, Vancouver

AutismBC Adults Go to the Museum of Anthropology – November 3rd, Vancouver

AutismBC Goes to Sky Zone indoor Trampoline Park – November 6th, Surrey

familyWORKs Vancouver – November Workshop – Person Centred Planning with Rebecca Pauls – November 14th, Vancouver

Two Social Thinking® Days for Young Children – November 16 & 17, Vancouver

Spectrum Lights Parent Group presents Family Information Sessions – November 16, Burnaby

BI Basic Training Workshop – November 25 & 26, New Westminster


Updates on Degree & Certification Courses Available in B.C.

Capilano University has updated its information on ACT’s information page Post-Secondary Programs for Professionals.

Douglas College has two ASD related programs for practitioners that begin January 2018:

Online Autism Outreach Training
Parents and Behaviour Interventionist, Early Childhood Educators and Education Assistants who work with a child/youth in British Columbia may be eligible. Receive 6-academic credit for $250.00, less half the price of other courses. Apply now – courses begin in January.

Employment Supports Specialty Advanced Certificate email
Learn more about how to support youth and adults who have disabilities find and keep a job. Move forward in your career with the only academic credit program in Canada that is VRA approved. Over $5,000.00 in Awards of Distinction available each year for those that qualify. Apply now – courses begin in January.


Autism in the News

Like us on Facebook for the latest news and resources

Is the public school system working for kids with special needs? – CBC Radio

Ontario family takes school board to human rights tribunal for allegedly refusing to allow autism therapy
– National Post

Five myths about autism we need to banish from teaching – TES

Why children with ‘severe autism’ are overlooked by science – Spectrum News

Call for better autism diagnosis data for girls – Radio NZ

How coping mechanisms allow autistic people to manage their condition– The Conversation

72% of kids with autism don’t get the help they need at school, survey finds – CBC News

‘Everyday hero’: Quebec barber finds special connection with 6-year-old client with autism
– CBC News

‘Autism Hour’ helps cut shopping stress – BBC

Mom Uses Jimmy Fallon’s Contest To Send Powerful Message About Autism – Huffington Post

As CBeebies launch their new autistic character Pablo, here’s why he’s important – Metro Lifestyle

Mini village teaches special needs students traffic safety – CBC News

Mum hails stranger a ‘hero’ after helping calm down her autistic son – Independent

Apps for autism: Silken Laumann campaigns for new technology – CBC

Disability in demand: People with autism offer employers a broader talent pool – CBC News


Job Posting: Administrative and Training Coordinator

Administrative and Training Coordinator
ACT – Autism Community Training (ACT) is a registered not-for-profit society that has provided training and support to families and community professionals from our Burnaby office since 2005. ACT has a strong reputation for innovative work, we use online technology to support families across B.C. and Canada with web streamed conferences, free online videos and the Autism Information Database, in addition to our highly respected live events. ACT mission is “to provide excellent information and training, in accordance with international best practices. Our goal is to enable parents, professionals and para-professionals to support children and adults with ASD to live productive, satisfying lives within their families and communities.”

Since 2010, ACT has provided:

  • 14,000 registrants with over 100,000 hours of training by leading clinicians and researchers;
  • Over 120  live events in three languages, in 14 communities across BC;
  • Autism Videos @ ACT, includes over 25 free online videos – available internationally.

In addition to our training focus, ACT provides:

The position of Administrative and Training Coordinator, reflects ACT’s refocusing on our core commitment to providing community-level training, through providing live and web streamed events, in addition to online videos. 

The Administrative and Training Coordinator will work closely with the Executive Director, to shape ACT’s training program for 2018 and beyond and will coordinate their work with ACT’s Website Officer and Financial Controller. The Coordinator serves as the first point of contact for ACT, and ensures that inquiries are addressed in a professional, timely fashion. A strong customer service orientation, and administrative skills are required, including reception experience  and event planning skills. This is a one year contract position. 

As ACT’s new focus will be on promoting our work nationally and internationally, a comfort in working in a national/international environment will be an asset.

Required Experience

  • 2 years’ experience in a responsible administrative role
  • Excellent organization, planning and project management skills
  • Detail oriented with superior written and verbal communication skills
  • Proficient with MSOffice suite, including Word and Excel; CRM experience an asset
  • Skill in website maintenance and social media an asset
  • Knowledge of autism an asset

For a full job description, contact  Submit resume and cover letter confidentially to  Salary will be commensurate with experience and skills. Review of applications will begin immediately. Anticipated start date is early June 2017.



Survey Results: BC’s Autism Community Rejects MCFD Take-Over of Support Services

ACT thanks all 1,621 people who took the time to fill in our recent survey. The survey report, released today, clearly demonstrates that there is widespread concern about Ministry of Children and Family Development’s (MCFD) decision to take over the information, support and RASP services that ACT has provided for over a decade.

Only 9% of respondents endorsed the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s decision to take on this role as of July 1, cancelling a 25-year history of  the province contracting with a community-based service provider to provide information and support to the autism community in B.C.

71% of survey respondents indicated that they prefer to access autism information and services through a not-for-profit organization. The survey was commissioned by ACT and carried out by Reichert & Associates, an independent research firm, and points to many areas of concern.

“Reasons for this concern range from respondents’ past negative experiences with MCFD to their present perception of MCFD as a ministry that is “too slow to respond,” “too far removed from front line support,” and one that already has “too much on its plate”, according to the report, Identifying Need, Delivering Service: Autism Community Satisfaction Survey (pdf).
The results strongly endorsed the work of  ACT – Autism Community Training:

  • 86% of respondents indicated that they would be comfortable contacting ACT if they were facing an autism-related challenge, compared to 35% who would be comfortable contacting MCFD.
  • 93% of respondents were satisfied with their access to services and resources through ACT.
  • 96% of respondents were satisfied with ACT’s website, compared to 43% satisfied with MCFD’s website.

“Minister Stephanie Cadieux told a delegation from ACT’s Board on February 27th, that ‘some’ parents may not contact MCFD for autism services but this report reflects our concern that many will not”, says Deborah Pugh, ACT’s Executive Director.

“If government is serious about supporting all families they should reconsider this short-sighted decision. On average, aboriginal and immigrant children receive a late diagnosis compared to the general population. Very few of these children are benefiting from early intervention and we know from our work with vulnerable communities that they will be especially reluctant to seek support from a government service,” explains Pugh.

MCFD has explained the decision to cancel the 2016 Request for Proposals issued in August 2016 as a way to save money and streamline services, by having MCFD provide information and support services directly at the Pacific Autism Family Centre (PAFC) for the nearly 13,000 children with an autism diagnosis in B.C.

PAFC was opened by Premier Christy Clark in November 2016 and was funded by a $20 million grant authorized by her predecessor Premier Gordon Campbell. The centre is still seeking tenants; because of high costs, most will likely be private companies charging parents for services.

Since 2007, the funding that ACT receives per child with autism in BC has dropped from $133 to $50 per child, because of the increase in the numbers of children being diagnosed. ACT’s core funding from MCFD has been frozen since 2010.

“We don’t see how MCFD will be able to maintain the necessary technology, pay unionized staff, cover the high operating costs at PAFC and ensure service quality while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars,” said ACT’s Board President, Dr. Christian Duff, Professor Emeritus at Royal Roads University.

While losing two-thirds of its income has been a financial blow, ACT is heartened by the high approval ratings received from all sectors of the autism community in the survey.
“ACT will continue to provide training in 2017 and expand our free, community-focused, online training and information resources. We are working to find alternative sources of funding and sponsorship to expand our reach across Canada and internationally”, says Pugh, adding, “We were surprised when MCFD provided us with $150,000 at the end of March, to support our bursary fund for parents. These one-time-only funds are appreciated but we will need to diversify our sources of funding.”

ACT’s highly committed staff will continue to deliver our information and support services to the best of our ability until June 30th. From the survey comments and calls we get at ACT, we know that parents and professionals are confused about what MCFD will provide. We hope that MCFD will soon share a detailed plan for its new program at PAFC with the autism community. ACT will post the plan on the new Transition Page of ACT’s website when available.

For updates on the transition of ACT’s services to MCFD, please visit:

Download the survey results: 

Identifying Need, Delivering Service:
Autism Community Satisfaction Survey (pdf)

ACT’s Quick Facts (pdf)