ACT News and Resources

ACT’s News Round-Up: November 2018 Edition

This week:

Understanding Mental Health Problems and ASD – Evidence-Based Case Conceptualization to Inform Treatment Planning

Jonathan Weiss, PhD, CPsych

This presentation is part of a free training series developed for mental health clinicians experienced in CBT with an interest in adaptations relevant to neurodevelopmental disabilities (e.g., autism, ADHD, learning disability).

Learning Objectives:

  • Recognize common emotional and behavioual problems associated with ASD
  • Differentiate mental health problems from ASD symptoms
  • Conceptualize common case frameworks that can inform CBT planning
  • Consider ethical issues in working with individuals with ASD using a CBT framework – including a panel discussion

As part of ACT’s Online Mental Health and Autism Project, we are launching a dozen new online videos this Fall/Winter season at Autism Videos @ ACT.

Watch video

Dr. Weiss holds the Canadian Institute of Health Research Chair in Autism Spectrum Disorders Treatment and Care Research. He is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto.

Dr. Weiss’ research focuses on the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in people with ASD and/or intellectual disabilities across the lifespan. He is interested in their health service needs, their emergency service use, and their experiences of psychiatric crisis. Among other research areas, Dr. Weiss is interested in cognitive-behavioural and social skill interventions to promote resilience and improve the mental health of children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Watch Dr. Weiss speak on Thriving in Youth in ASD: What Does it Take? from October 2015.

Next week’s video: A panel discussion on the perspectives of Adults with ASD.

Diagnosing & Managing ASD in Adults

The University of British Columbia is responding to the chronic shortage of mental health professionals trained to work with adults with ASD with a two-day course from an international expert in autism, Dr. Anthony Bailey, MBBS, DCH, MRCPsych, FRCPC. Professor and Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, UBC.

Registration has now opened for Diagnosing & Managing Autism Spectrum Disorder in Adults
Feb 1-2 (Fri-Sat), 0900–1630
UBC Robson Square ,Vancouver – also available via web streaming.

Target audience: psychiatrists, family physicians, other mental health care professionals
Up to 10.5 Mainpro+/MOC Section 1
View course content details
Register here

ACT recently launched a 30 minute presentation by Dr. Bailey as part of the Online Mental Health and Autism Project on the Role of Medications in the Management of ASD

Pilot Project to Identify Best Treatments for Autism

The Laurel Foundation is requesting the help of the autism community in completing a short five-question Pilot Survey. The objective is to create a metadata analysis project with individualized web based therapy programs for children with ASD. The project will involve thousands of families anonymously inputting information about their child’s treatment and its effectiveness to find the most efficient strategies for her/his specific challenges. At this stage they are determining if families would like such a program to be set up and are willing to provide the data to form the information pool.

As a first step, they are asking five simple questions to shape the project with the goal of empowering families to identify and access the best treatments available.

Complete the survey here.

Autism in the News

Get the latest on ACT’s Facebook page

Vancouver teacher is schooling educators on the value of inclusive classrooms – The Globe and Mail

How history forgot the woman who defined autism – Spectrum News

Kelowna mom goes extra mile to help special needs son adjust to school life – Global News

Sensory issues in autism may have sex-specific roots – Spectrum News

Theatre class helping people with autism break out of their shells – CTV News

Dos and Don’ts of Classroom Decorations – Edutopia

Neighbor builds shelter for boy with autism to wait for school bus – Lincoln Journal Star

Dads open up about autism in new film – Community Care Review

Expecting autistic people to ‘fit in’ is cruel and unproductive; value us for our strengths – The Conversation

Small town unites to prevent autistic neighbor from becoming homeless – Yahoo

NDP government ‘open’ to alternative pay options for special needs educators – Global News

New free videos addressing mental health in autism | Autism in the News

This week:
Mental Health in Post-Secondary Education:

What is It Like for Students with ASD and What Does the Research Say?

Rashmeen Nirmal, PhD, RPsych

In this presentation, Dr. Rashmeen Nirmal provides key information on the mental health functioning of young autistic adults within the context of post-secondary settings including college and university.

Based on research that Dr. Nirmal’s did for her PhD dissertation, she provides useful insights into the management of common mental health symptoms in students with ASD, in particular, depression and anxiety. Recommendations for best practice in mental health service delivery and the provision of effective transition supports are discussed.

This research was one of the first projects where the researchers did an in-depth, systematic investigation of the lived experiences of autistic students in post-secondary education. The results of this research has implications for adolescents preparing for life after secondary school, as well as adults in secondary schools, colleges and universities.

Watch video.

As part of ACT’s Online Mental Health and Autism Project, we will be featuring a dozen new online videos this Fall/Winter season at Autism Videos @ ACT.

Next week: A panel discussion on the perspectives of Adults with ASD.

Dr. Nirmal is Program Leader for UBC’s PEERS: Social Skills Intervention for Teens with ASD. PEERS® is an evidence-based intervention program that is designed to help teens make and keep friends.

This 14-week program at UBC for Teens with ASD teaches peer-based social skills. Visit the program and application details on ACT’s Special Needs Community Events listing.


Autism in the News

Get the latest on ACT’s Facebook page

‘I spend hours planning’: How parents of kids with autism make Halloween a treat – Today

Burnaby school district not immune to exclusion incidents involving students with special needs – Burnaby Now

Some Thoughts on Early Intervention – Autistic Scholar

Children with autism, developmental delays nearly 50 percent more likely to be overweight, obese – Science Daily

Social stigma contributes to poor mental health in the autistic community – Science Daily

Oliver’s legacy: MPs to debate learning disability petition – BBC News

Girl with autism who mistook bride for Cinderella could meet all the Disney princesses – WIVB

Entrepreneurship Is How Families Are Creating Meaningful Jobs for Their Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder – Entrepreneur


New Video: ESSENCE with Dr. Christopher Gillberg! New videos released weekly on ACT’s Online Mental Health & Autism Project

View the video

As part of ACT’s Online Mental Health and Autism Project, we will be featuring a dozen new online videos this Fall/Winter season at Autism Videos @ ACT.

We are beginning with Professor Christopher Gillberg, a world renowned autism researcher who has developed the concept of ESSENCE, recognizing the overlapping symptoms of ASD, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder/Conduct Disorder (ODD/CD), anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders, intellectual developmental disorder, communication disorders, dyslexia, epilepsy, cerebral palsy and others.

In this thought provoking presentation, Dr. Gillberg makes the case that ESSENCE (Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examinations), are common childhood onset disorders, affecting about 10% of the general population, that can be effectively treated. Early recognition, psychoeducation and other targeted interventions, can improve adaptive outcomes in adult life.

This presentation was recorded in 2017 at ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research Conference, held at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. ACT appreciates Dr. Gillberg’s generosity in allowing us to include it as part of Autism Videos @ ACT.

New videos every week

ACT will be releasing new videos with a mental health focus every week until the end of December, featuring presentations ACT has recorded as part of the Online Mental Health & Autism Project.

Receive updates on new videos by signing up for our email list or use the share buttons on the page to send to a friend or colleague.

October 4

Addressing Mental Health in Autism: Should We Treat the Person with ASD, the Family, or the Community?

Jonathan Weiss, PhD, CPsych
CIHR Chair in ASD Treatment and Care Research; Associate Professor, York University

October 11: International Day of the Girl

Girls and Women with Eating Disorders – Why are ASD and ADHD Missed?

Christopher Gillberg, MD, PhD
Director, Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Practical Strategies for Supporting Mental Wellness of Teenage Girls and Women with ASD

Dori Zener, MSW, RSW

September 2018 events and news

Upcoming Events


Managing the Anxious Symptoms of Children and Adolescents with ASD: Practical Strategies
Thursday & Friday, September 27 & 28

Judy Reaven, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Colorado

This two-day training is aimed at professionals who have an intermediate/advanced knowledge of CBT and are looking for an evidence-based, manualized program on adapted CBT for children and adolescents with ASD to address the high levels of anxiety in this population. Research has shown that children and teens with ASD and anxiety demonstrate significant reductions in anxiety following participation in modified Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) interventions, allowing many to function better at home, school and in the community.

Facing Your Fears (FYF) is a group CBT intervention for managing anxiety in youth with ASD. Throughout the training, participants will learn about FYF, identify core components of the clinic based FYF program, learn how to modify FYF for teens with ASD and intellectual disabilities, as well as strategies for delivering FYF in school settings. Video examples and interactive small group activities will be provided throughout this training, provided by Dr. Judy Reaven, one of the developers of the FYF approach. Dr. Reaven is an experienced clinician and researcher and is a dynamic presenter.

View Details & Registration

Setting the Stage for Success: Positive Behaviour Support in School, Home and Community Friday & Saturday, October 19 & 20 Vancouver

View Details & Registration

ACT’s Education Resources

Back-to-School Resources

Along with the resources on ACT’s School-Age Children with Autism page, you can find hundreds of resources on our B.C. Community Resources search and the Autism Information Database.

B.C. Community Resources – Education resources

Enter your city or postal code to narrow down service providers, recreational activities, employment and training opportunities, and community organizations near you.

Autism Information Database – Education resources

Find articles, guides, videos, and research on executive functioning skills, anxiety, bullying, and much more.

Special Needs Community Events

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

September Events:

Social Sprouts 2 (Social Thinking)
September 10, Surrey

Executive Functioning for Preteens
September 11, Surrey

Connect with PEERS(r) for Young Adults (19-30)
September 11, Burnaby

AutismBC Family Support Group
September 12, Prince George Social Sprouts (Social Thinking)
September 15, Surrey

Art and Social for Girls
September 15, Surrey

Incredible Years – Autism Spectrum and Language Delays Parenting Program
September 20 – December 14, North Vancouver

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: Relaxed Performance
September 30, Vancouver

Youth & Young Adult Program: Games & Activities
October 2, Nanaimo – Registration deadline: September 21

Ticket Giveaway!

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Relaxed Performance – September 30 at 7 PM

Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, Vancouver

Enter now for a chance to win 1 set of 2 tickets to see a relaxed performance of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a Tony Award-winning play adapted from the novel by Mark Hadden, about a teenager with high-functioning autism seeking to solve the murder of a neighbour’s dog.

Visit the Arts Club website for more information on this play.

This relaxed performance is an inclusive, modified theatre experience designed to welcome people who may find it difficult to follow the usual conventions of traditional theatre.

How to win tickets: Email with the subject “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Give-Away” before Friday, September 14 at 9:00am.
ACT will randomly select the winning entry to receive a free set of 2 tickets to see the play and will email ticket winners with instructions for pick-up at the theatre box-office.

Click the button below to send your email and be entered into the ticket giveaway.

Enter the giveaway

Autism in the News

Get the latest on ACT’s Facebook page

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has released a new simplified Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP-D) application package. Find out more:
New form at Service Canada | Disability Alliance BC CPP-D Guides

TRACKING EXCLUSION: BCEdAccess’ Exclusion* Incident Report Form – BCEdAccess

Resources for autistic students and students on the spectrum transitioning from high school to college – Stairway to Stem

How the Ontario Disability Support Program makes falling in love a challenging proposition – TVO

Treatment to remove metals from children with autism unproven and risky, but no clear regulations – CBC News

‘I’ll break the barriers’: New ad campaign tries to end stigma plaguing youth with disabilities – CBC News

Autism Ups Risk for Depression in Early Adulthood – MedPage Today

For people with developmental disabilities, a job is more than a paycheque – it says ‘I’m valuable’ – The Globe and Mail

The extra layer of back-to-school anxiety when your child has special needs – The Washington Post

‘Atypical’ Team on Bringing ‘More Voices From the Autism Community’ in Season 2 – Variety

Gavin Rose was diagnosed with autism three years ago. Now, he’s competing for a world bull riding title – The Star

Changemaker: Bellevue man living with autism wants to help others understand it – Q13 FOX News

The relief, and heartbreak, of watching my autistic son becoming more socially aware – The Washington Post

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New Videos Series on Women & Girls with Autism | Autism in the News -

New Videos Series on Women & Girls with Autism | Autism in the News - ... See MoreSee Less

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A feel-good video! Watch how the audience reacts to a young man who has Down syndrome at his BBC dance audition.SUBSCRIBE for more BBC highlights: WATCH full programmes on BBC iPlayer Inspirational dancer Andrew freestyles ... ... See MoreSee Less


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One of the many happy herring eaters at the Herring Sale! ... See MoreSee Less

The crew from Oceanside Fisheries are back to base in Steveston with a full load of herring fresh from the Salish Sea. This afternoon they were bagging the super healthy silver delicacies ready for the 2nd Annual Herring for Autism Sale, which will start at 8 AM tomorrow, at 3080 Moncton Street in Richmond. We hope to see you there!

The crew from Oceanside Fisheries are back to base in Steveston with a full load of herring fresh from the Salish Sea. This afternoon they were bagging the super healthy silver delicacies ready for the 2nd Annual Herring for Autism Sale, which will start at 8 AM tomorrow, at 3080 Moncton Street in Richmond. We hope to see you there! ... See MoreSee Less


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Have a sellout!

See you in the A.M.! 🐟

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