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 info@actcommunity.ca for any inquiries on that day.

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Holiday News Round-Up

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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 info@actcommunity.ca.
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 sporter@actcommunity.ca . 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 dacs@douglascollege.ca
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

 

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: www.actcommunity.ca/transition

Download the survey results: 

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

ACT’s Quick Facts (pdf)

November News Round-Up

 

31f73a8a-ae33-400c-966b-9acf51f90a77 New AVA Videos for the Autism Community – Support ACT this Giving Tuesday

Four new videos are now available at Autism Videos @ ACT. These training opportunities are free, online, available on your computer or phone – at your convenience.

Sponsors and donors from ACT’s 2016 Seymour Triple G fundraiser funded the recording and editing of most of these videos. A special thank you to them and to our presenters who have generously donated their expertise so that parents and professionals all over B.C. and beyond can benefit.

ACT has several other videos awaiting editing. Today is Giving Tuesday; if you would like to support AVA’s development, donate via cheque, Canada Helps, the United Way, or Employer Charitable funds. Your donations help ACT produce professional, evidence-based programming. See our 2016 donors and information on donating: www.actcommunity.ca/donate

  1. Positive Behavior Support: What Parents Need to Know!
    Dr. Brenda Fossett, BCBA-D, does a masterful job in introducing families and community professionals to the benefits of using PBS techniques to help children with special needs develop key functional skills. These range from toileting skills to community outings without tantrums. When parents understand that challenging behaviors are not a permanent feature of autism, or any other special need, and that they can be part of addressing them, the quality of family life and the child’s ability to be included in school and community activities can improve significantly. www.actcommunity.ca/education/videos/positive-behavior-support/
  2. Taking Control of the Future –Planning for Families with Special Needs
    Lawyers Blair Dwyer and Layli Antinuk tackle an issue that is a primary source of stress for families who have children with special needs – securing their future. This video will help families better understand planning options to secure the financial future of their children.www.actcommunity.ca/education/videos/taking-control-of-the-future/
  3. Thriving in Youth with ASD – What Does It Take?
    Dr. Jonathan Weiss, CIHR Chair ASD Treatment and Care Research, looks at how to promote positive outcomes in youth with ASD, including those with intellectual disability, by focusing on indicators such as happiness, satisfaction and resilience. This video includes a fascinating panel presentation with Dr. Anthony Bailey, UBC; Patrick Dwyer, student and self-advocate; Dr. Stephanie Jull, Canucks Autism Network; Dr. Rashmeen Nirmal, Sunny Hill Health Centre and Dr. David Worling, Westcoast Child Development Group.
    www.actcommunity.ca/education/videos/thriving-in-youth-with-asd/
  4. Looking Beyond Autism: Recognising Mental Health Disordersin Children and Youth with ASD
    This is the first of two events which were webcasted recently as part of the Online Mental Health and Autism Project. Funded by MCFD, these presentations were developed in collaboration with UBC Continuing Professional Development, to increase awareness among community professionals of the high prevalence of mental health concerns, including anxiety and depression, among children and youth with ASD. Webinar 2 will be available shortly.
    www.actcommunity.ca/mentalhealth/recognising/

ACT hosts nearly 20 professionally filmed and edited talks from experts in their field. Browse for popular topics such as toilet training, recreation, puberty and early intervention: www.actcommunity.ca/videos Many of these presentations are relevant across a variety of special needs.

New YVR Autism Access Sticker

The Vancouver International Airport, with Canucks Autism Network, has developed an Autism Access Sticker. This sticker was developed as part of the I CAN Fly program that provides air travel resources to support individuals and families living with autism. For more information or to get yours for holiday travel: New YVR Autism Access Sticker Gives Expedited Airport Processing .

Have Your Say: Federal Accessibility Legislation

The Federal Government is consulting with Canadians on new accessibility legislation. See below for opportunities to participate online. Some of the questions they will be asking are:

  • What are the main barriers to accessibility that Canadians with disabilities face?
  • What would it take to fix those barriers?
  • How can we change attitudes in Canada to better include and respect people with disabilities?

For details: www.esdc.gc.ca/en/consultations/disability/legislation/index.page#h2.325

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New Live Event – Evaluating Intervention Programs and Peer Mediated PRT

Presented by Isabel Smith, PhD and Ainsley Boudreau, PhD
January 14th, 2017, Vancouver

Across Canada there are very different approaches to autism intervention in both the pre-school and school-age context. Join ACT for a fascinating day to discover more about the experience in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and what we should consider when evaluating and refining the BC approach. The morning will look at a study of two intervention programs in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The afternoon will examine a variation of the parent delivery model of Pivotal Response Treatment, in which typically developing peers are taught to play with their classmates with ASD.
Evaluating Intervention Programs and Peer Mediated Pivotal Response Treatment for Children with ASD

RASP Updates: 9 New RASP Professionals

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Nine RASP professionals have been added or had their status updated between October 26th and November 29th. As of November 29th, there are now 661 professionals on the Registry for Autism Service Providers.

Behavior Consultants (Category A – Non-Supervised)

  • Kate Chase – Serves: Vancouver
  • Sylvia Hunter – Serves: North Vancouver, Pemberton, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver, Whistler
  • Danielle Pessah – Serves: Langford, Saanich, Sidney, Sooke, Victoria

Behavior Consultants (Category B – Supervised)

  • Andrea Schneider – Serves: Vancouver

Speech-Language Pathologists (Non-Supervised)

  • Amy Makaroff – Serves: Victoria

Speech-Language Pathologists (Supervised)

  • Hannah Tan – Serves: Richmond
  • Alysha Virani – Serves: Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Surrey

Occupational Therapists

  • Anjelee Khosla – Serves: Delta, Ladner, Maple Ridge, Richmond, Surrey
  • Ashley Reina – Serves: Coldstream, Enderby, Kelowna, Lake Country, Penticton, Summerland, Vernon

Professionals no longer listed on the RASP

RASP service providers may leave the RASP due to retirement or moving to a different job or province. Since October 26th, listings for Levina Chin and Nicholas Watkins have been removed from the RASP.

RASP providers are urged to keep their contact information up to date either online or by contacting the ACT office. If you are a parent who is not receiving a response from a RASP Professional, please update ACT.

ACT updates the RASP list weekly. See who is new in your community at www.actcommunity.ca/rasp/search/.

Special Needs Community Events

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ACT welcomes submissions on events from organizations from across B. C. providing services to children and adults with special needs and their families. Browse current events, or post your own at www.actcommunity.ca/education/community-events

Upcoming events in December include:

  • December 3rd. Celebrate Diversity – family WORKs. North Vancouver.
  • December 3rd. Project Everybody: International Day of Persons with Disabilities Celebration – Inclusion BC. Vancouver.
  • December 3rd. Family Holiday Skate – Canucks Autism Network. Kamloops.
  • December 8th. Wills, Trusts and Estates: For Families and Individuals with Disabilities – Inclusion BC. Vancouver.
  • December 8th. Parents as Advocates Workshop – North Shore Disabilities Resource Centre and Inclusion BC. North Vancouver.
  • December 10th. Sensory Friendly Movie: Moana. Cineplex – Langford, Richmond or Langley Cinemas.
  • December 11th. Sensory Friendly Santa – Autism Society of B.C. Park Royal Shopping Mall, West Vancouver.
  • December 18th. Family Holiday Skate – Canucks Autism Network. Kelowna.
  • December 22nd. A Night to Remember – a Sensory Friendly Winter Formal Dinner Dance – Mayday Club. Abbotsford.

Submit your community events for inclusion in this provincial resource listing.

Food and Eating: Resources from the Autism Information Database

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Restricted eating habits are common among individuals with ASD. The Autism Information Database (AID) provides curated resources on this topic and more:

  • Exploring Feeding Behavior in Autism – A Parent’s Guide.From the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. This article offers guidance on how to address feeding issues and the need for combined effort from the team and family. www.actcommunity.ca/resource/1717/
  • Addressing Problematic Feeding Behaviours Using a Behavioural Approach. This online video by Lauren Binnendyck outlines behavioral approaches to dealing with problematic feeding behaviors. www.actcommunity.ca/resource/2032/
  • Just Take a Bite – Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges! This book by Lori Ernsperger provides information and strategies on how to deal with food aversions and eating challenges. www.actcommunity.ca/resource/698/
  • Pica – A Guide for Parents. From the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. This guide describes pica (the eating of non-food items) and its challenges. www.actcommunity.ca/resource/1775/

Search the AID for resources on advocacy, IEPs, toilet training, service providers and community programs: www.actcommunity.ca/aid“It’s like Google, but better!”
Submit a community or information resource to the AID: www.actcommunity.ca/aid

ABA at Capilano University

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The Applied Behaviour Analysis – Autism Department at Capilano University will be accepting applications for the Bachelor’s and Post-Bac Diploma programs starting January 2017. On-line study is available. For more information, contact Dr. Richard Stock, BCBA-D, for more information: rstock@capilanou.ca

MCFD Sponsored Online Autism Training

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This educational program, with openings for Winter 2017, is open to any BI or family member in B.C. who is working with a child/youth who has an ASD diagnosis and a behaviour plan of support written by a professional, in community, school or centres. For more information: www.douglascollege.ca/autism-outreachor contact dacs@douglascollege.ca

Applications are open for Douglas College’s other ASD related programs: Behaviour Intervention, Classroom and Community Support, Disability and ABA, and Employment Supports Specialty. All programs are for academic credit and some ladder into the next level, as you move forward in your career.

Autism in the News

  • Court ruling to force hiring of hundreds of teachers in B.C. (Vancouver Sun)
  • The Asperger’s comedy troupe: ‘We want people to like us because we’re funny’ (The Guardian)
  • Search for boy’s ‘life-saving’ blue cup gets incredible response from strangers (the Telegraph)
  • Defying expectations, people with autism are participating and excelling in sports (Sports Illustrated)
  • ‘All my life suddenly made sense’: how it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life (The Guardian)
  • The Link Between Autism and Trans Identity (The Atlantic)
  • Timely autism treatment better for kids, taxpayers, study finds (the Star)
  • Brooklyn Transit Museum’s ‘Subway Sleuths’ program help autistic children learn, grow (Daily News)
  • What Grandmothers Can Teach Science About Autism (the Atlantic)
  • More aging B.C. parents struggling to raise adult children with disabilities (the Province)
  • LEGO therapy introduced to Abbotsford children with autism (Global News)
  • Movie Review: Off the Rails (Roger Ebert.com)
  • Opinion: Five things to keep in mind when writing about autism (Vancouver Sun)
  • Park board to train all employees about autism spectrum disorder (Vancouver Sun)

For more news and stories, follow us on Facebook

Staff News – new job posting

ACT is pleased to announce that Andrea Tai has joined ACT as our Administrative Assistant.

Job Posting – Full time Information Officer
ACT Information Officers provide information, support and referral services to families raising children with ASD. The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable about autism and related services with strong communication skills. A second language is an asset.

This position, based in our Burnaby office, is a full time (35 hours per week) family leave contract starting mid to late January 2017 for one year. For a full job description or if you have any questions please contact info@actcommunity.ca. To apply, send your resume and cover letter to info@actcommunity.ca with “ACT Information Officer” in the subject line. We will be reviewing applications upon receipt and scheduling interviews for early January.

ACT’s E.D. Receives Award Recognizing Contributions to Developmental Disabilities

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Recently, ACT’s Executive Director, Deborah Pugh, received a ‘Health and Wellbeing in Developmental Disabilities Outstanding Contribution Award’, at the annual conference. The award was presented by Dr. Elena Lopez, conference co-chair. For more about the conference, visit the committee website.