ACT News and Resources

January 2020 News Round-up

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

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

B.C. naturopath’s pricey fecal transplants for autism are experimental and risky, scientists say – CBC News

Burnaby widow didn’t leave disabled daughter enough money: judge – Burnaby Now

Families of kids with autism face burnout and false accusations – Futurity

What School Could Be If It Were Designed for Kids With Autism – The Atlantic

Service dog costs should be compensated for people with epilepsy, autism, petition says – CBC News Montreal

Burnout and Expectations – Autistic Scholar

For Tom Cutler, being diagnosed autistic was the happiest day of his life – The Spectator

When People Make Hurtful Comments About My Child on the Autism Spectrum – Yahoo

Adolescent anxiety predicts later psychiatric diagnoses in autistic people – Spectrum News

Greta Thunberg’s father: ‘She is happy, but I worry’ – BBC News

Autism in 2019: What we learned about the spectrum this year – Global News

A major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products – Washington Post

Thank you to Herring Sale volunteers, donors, and sponsors

The Staff and Board of ACT – Autism Community Training send out a big thank you to everyone who made the 2020 Herring for Autism Sale a resounding success – helping us to raise $20,000 to support ACT’s free evidence-based information services for families and community professionals across B.C. and around the world.

First and foremost, Kevin Smith, skipper of the Western Investor, based in Prince Rupert. Despite the aggressive sealions and the harsh weather last week, he managed to catch 20,000 lbs of herring from the Salish Sea before making a dash for Steveston as the weather deteriorated.

From Oceanside Fisheries, owners Mike Rekis and Anne McCaw, and all the intrepid herring unloaders and baggers – it was no small job to bag herring in the icy rain and snow last Friday: John Kitchen, Doug Shinde, Darrel Hills, Bob Macdonald, Len Fanning, Ken Johnson, Ken Yoshikawa, Rob Clarke, Paul Bevindick, Jim Cahill, Tim Edgington.

blankVital to our successful day were our volunteers who hoisted the 20 & 10 pound bags and wheelbarrowed the big orders out to the waiting vehicles, as well as translating, counting money and many other tasks: Anne Millerd, Nicole Provost, Brent Shirley, Paul Burns and his sons Nathan, Matthew, Dade and Jacob, Paige and Hannah Sharpe, Brennan Kovacevich, Karim Alrawi, Karen Wong, Abbey Rekis, Jenny Zhao and her daughter.

blankSpecial appreciation for the support we received from Leader Fishing Ltd and owner Erling Olsen, and the sponsorship from the General Manager of the Steveston Harbour Authority – Jamie Gusto. As well the media outlets, including Global TV, Stingray Radio and Fairchild Media who helped get the word out!

blankLast, but not least, we appreciate all of our customers and donors who made the day a very warm one for ACT despite the very cold temperatures. We are sorry that we ran out of fish (it was just too dangerous for Kevin to fill the hold) but we are hoping for better weather next year and more of the fresh and healthy herring!

Join our Herring for Autism Email List

We urge all herring connoisseurs to join our special Herring Email List and we will give you plenty of notice for the 2021 Herring Sale with how to pre-order online so that you can avoid the line-ups and be sure of your order!

Volunteers Needed for the Herring Sale – January 11

Support ACT this Saturday, January 11th at our 3rd Annual Herring Sale fundraiser! We need volunteers to help carry 20lb and 10lb bags to customers cars, help with directing customers, and general support!

There will be pizza, snacks, coffee, and beverages for volunteers, Volunteers can also take a free bag of herring home! The Herring Sale is from 8am-3:30pm. We ask volunteers to commit to a 3-4 hour shift.

Please email ACT at to volunteer or for more information. Visit the Herring Sale page for more details on the sale.



Holiday hours, Herring Sale: Volunteers needed, New Event, and Autism in the News


New event: POPARD’s SuperWorkshop

Understanding and Addressing Challenging Behavior: A Practical Approach

Friday, January 24th & Friday, January 31st, 2020

Vancouver & Web-Streaming

The characteristics of ASD often manifest in challenging behaviour, causing school support personnel much distress as they struggle to understand and address the behaviors so they can help the student learn. Thankfully, there is a large evidence-base of effective instructional strategies to support positive behaviour in children and teens with ASD.

This 2-day introductory SuperWorkshop, spanning two successive Fridays, will prepare you to answer questions such as:

  • For what reasons does challenging behaviour occur?
  • How can I find out why my student is engaging in such behaviour?
  • How can I limit the likelihood of challenging behaviour, both before it has occurred and after?

Participants will learn the fundamentals of how to make changes in programming that can support student success.

This workshop has been developed by POPARD for K-12 classroom teachers, resource teachers, learning support teachers, case managers, and education assistants who are not yet familiar in assessment and intervention with students who have challenging behaviour. The workshop is particularly beneficial when multiple members of a school team can attend. Community professionals and parents may register on the understanding that this workshop focuses on training school personnel.

View Event Details

School Districts in BC are eligible to register their district for a group web stream viewing at a reduced rate thanks to sponsorship from Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD). To register as part of your district, contact your POPARD District Partner (District Partner contact list). You must attend both Fridays to receive a Certificate of Online Attendance.

Contact ACT at for more information on this offer.

Herring SaleHerring Sale for Autism – January 11 in Steveston

To kick off fundraising in 2020, ACT – Autism Community Training will benefit from a ‘Herring for Autism Sale’, sponsored by Oceanside Fisheries, on Saturday, January 11 in Steveston. In January 2019 we sold over 20,000 pounds of herring! Help us spread the word by sharing this event on Facebook. Visit the Herring Sale page for herring recipes, event details, information on how to volunteer, and online pre-orders:

View Herring Sale Details

Can you volunteer January 11th?

Can you hoist 20 pounds or translate from English to Mandarin or Cantonese? ACT is looking for volunteers to help our customers, answer questions, and even wear our signature fish costume! It’s going to be a busy and very fun day – we’ll need many volunteers to help support this event which funds ACT’s B.C. Community Resources – available across the province. Take home a bag of herring or just enjoy the hot drinks and pizza while supporting a great cause. Email for details!


Support ACT with a donation before December 31 and help us launch our 15th Year!

As of January, it will be 15 years since ACT opened our office to support the B.C. autism community. In 2019 alone, we have helped 20,000 parents, professionals and autistic adults find answers to their questions via our unparalleled online resources; over 11,000 people accessed one of ACT’s free videos.

ACT’s resources are funded by donations and sponsorship from members of the autism community – and the generosity of our speakers. We keep our overheads very low, we have a modest office and no professional fundraisers and we receive no government funding. Everything that ACT develops is produced by people who understand the diverse realities of those we support. They are accessible to all without the need to become members or provide a password. Life for members of our community can be challenging – our goal is to be easily accessible.

If you are in a position to donate to ACT this year and would like to know more see ACT’s 2019 Report to Donors (pdf) or email for more information.

ACT is a registered charity. Our Charitable Tax Number is: #861691236RR0001.

Holiday Hours

ACT will be closed from Monday, December 23rd to January 1st, re-opening January 2nd. If you need to reach us on an urgent matter while we are closed, email


Autism in the News

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

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

Autistic children disproportionately affected by chronic pain – Spectrum News

How a neuroscientist’s infant son revolutionized our understanding of autism – Salon

Parents of special needs kids worried they’ll need to fight even harder for support in B.C. – News 1130

As classrooms grow, parents of most vulnerable students feel forgotten – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

The hero of Netflix’s ‘Atypical’ loves to draw. Meet the artist with autism behind his work – LA Times

Cheering for Miranda: UVic student overcomes adversity in pursuit of cheerleading – CHEK News

B.C.’s long waitlist for autism assessments, diagnosis continues to grow – Global News

‘A man of his word’: Retired RCMP sergeant shows up every week for man with autism – CBC News

My Childhood Autism Went Undetected. It Cost Me Part of My Youth. – Undark

Infants should be tested for autism if their siblings are diagnosed, study suggests – Global News

Cartoon Network Launches Mentoring Program for Autistic Animators – The Mighty

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling provides protection for a family’s Autism Funding

In recent months, ACT has been supporting a refugee family to explain their case and the Autism Funding Program to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (formerly the Small Claims Court). In the absence of a contract, and with limited English, the father needed help to counter allegations by a behavior interventionist (BI) that she was owed $60 an hour for each hour worked with their twins – $30 from each child’s Autism Funding account. The Autism Funding Program is overseen by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD).

The parent insisted that he had only agreed to a total of $30 an hour. Their Behavior Consultant agreed that a charge of $60 an hour was never raised by the BI before she submitted her invoice.

Through a lengthy process, which finally ended last week, the BI argued that the parent, by virtue of signing MCFD’s ‘Request to Pay’ form for each child, owed her money from both children’s accounts for the same hour. Trisha Apland, Tribunal Member disagreed. Importantly, Ms. Apland also stated that the family was not required to pay from their own funds:

“I find no evidence that the respondent agreed to pay from “his own pocket” or outside the funds allocated by MCFD. Therefore, I decline to order the respondent to pay the applicant’s fees from “his own pocket”.”

Providers should note that this decision also clarifies that the Tribunal will not order parents to pay from their own resources, if a Service Provider has billed more than the amount agreed in the ‘Request to Pay’ form, in the absence of an additional agreement. [Prior to 2017, ACT managed the complaints process for the Registry of Autism Service Providers and saw a number of cases where parents were subjected to considerable pressure by a small minority of service providers.]

The Importance of Written Contracts

This case brings home the need for parents and providers to agree contracts that outline the number of hours the provider may bill during a specific period and the amount they may charge per hour. Any additional work the parent requests should be agreed in advance, in writing. Providers should not expect to be paid for hours that they have not been contracted to work.

This was an unusual case because there was more than one child, but at least 10% of B.C. families have more than one child with ASD. A written contract protects both the provider and the family from misunderstandings. In situations where a service provider is dishonest [an infrequent occurrence], this decision provides families with an assurance that the Civil Resolution Tribunal can provide a ruling that takes into consideration the complexity of the Autism Funding Program.

A Remarkable Father

ACT acknowledges the commitment of the father in this case. He was so determined to protect his children’s autism funding that he continued to advocate, despite serious illness, lack of fluency in English, and his initial, unfounded fear, that if he lost, he and his family would be deported because of their refugee status. His remarkable courage has resulted in a decision that can now be relied upon by other families.
Read the full decision here

For more information on contracting with professionals on the RASP, visit Chapter 5 from ACT’s Autism Manual for BC. This chapter contains detailed information on:

  • Autism Funding & the Responsibilities of the Parent
  • The Importance of a Contract
  • Paying your Service Provider Using Autism Funding
  • Timesheets and Invoices
  • Finding the Right Professional

Support ACT’s information and advocacy work with a donation on Giving Tuesday

ACT is Canada’s leading independent, not-for-profit specializing in evidence-informed resources for the autism and special needs community. In addition to developing our own videos, guides and live events, including web streaming, ACT provides an unrivaled information portal that responds to the diverse needs of our community across the lifespan, including the voice of adults, in multiple languages.

ACT is a registered charity. Our Charitable Tax Number is: #861691236RR0001.

Donate to ACT

ACT's Facebook News Feed

Like our Facebook page for the latest news

Load more