Category Archives: Research

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

$2.85 million Parent Coaching Project Awarded to UBC

ACT is very pleased to announce that a decision has been made to award funding for a three year $2.85 million project focused on researching parent coaching in diverse communities in British Columbia. The project will be led by Dr. Pat Mirenda and Dr. Anthony Bailey, of the University of British Columbia, both well known to B.C.’s autism community for their knowledge of autism and commitment to the need for families to receive quality intervention services that support the best outcomes for children.

“This will be one of the largest-ever studies of parent coaching,” said Dr. Bailey, the Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in the UBC Institute of Mental Health. “It also breaks new ground in its inclusion of rural and disadvantaged families in the parent coaching model, and in the degree of choice that will be given to parents as to where coaching is delivered, including via the internet.”

For more details on the project please see the  UBC press release here.

ACT has been holding the project funding, which was provided by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and will continue to play a role in receiving reports from the project until it completes in three years’ time. ACT would like to thank all members of the Steering Committee who have contributed to this innovative project.  In particular, we recognize the important role of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research in convening an international panel of expert researchers who evaluated the applications and made the selection.

New Video: Essentials of Advocacy: A Parent’s Guide to Advocating for their Child with Special Needs

Presented by Deborah Pugh, Executive Director, ACT – Autism Community Training

Many parents find the most stressful part of parenting a child with special needs is the constant need to advocate for their child’s unique needs to be met. This free online ACT video provides practical, positive guidance on how to navigate various government systems and provides insights to understanding the systems that control access to services for children with special needs. Many of the examples are from British Columbia’s education system, but the basic principles of effective advocacy apply to most jurisdictions and are helpful to families who want to understand how to protect their child’s rights by better understanding the roles and responsibilities of both service providers and the family. The video has been edited down into short chunks to help busy families. No password is required.

Deborah Pugh has been an active advocate on behalf of children and adults with special needs for over 20 years, following a journalism career in which she first learned the importance of advocating for others. For details of Deborah’s experience see the ACT Staff page.

Please click on link below to access Part 2 of the ‘Essentials of Advocacy’. You may also access the handout for the workshop here as well as the full Table of Contents for the workshop here: www.actcommunity.ca/education/the-essentials-of-advocacy/

Online Mental Health and Autism Project – Free Webinars Now Available

About the OMHAP Initiative:

This is a free online resource (links below) that has been developed for community professionals to alert them to the mental health needs of children and youth with autism spectrum disorder.

Children and youth with ASD are often affected by psychiatric disorders, including anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and attention disorders.

It can be challenging for front-line health, education, and social services professionals to recognize these co-existing disorders, especially in children and youth with ASD who have difficulty communicating social or emotional cues.

This first phase of the OMHAP initiative provides two recorded webinars, by leading B.C. professionals, that highlight best practices in recognizing, identifying and treating the most common mental-health issues, in children and youth with ASD and related disorders.

Visit the Online Mental Health and Autism Project page for more information:
www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/

Co-Sponsored by:

Division of Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, advised on the development of the webinars and provided Continuing Educational Credits for registrants.


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British Columbia’s Ministry of Children and Family Development has provided funding for OMHAP.

Part 1: Recognizing Mental Health Disorders in Children and Youth with ASD

Webinar 1 focuses on heightening awareness of the high prevalence of autism across the age span which can mask mental health concerns that require treatment from mental health professionals. Total time: 75 minutes.

Outline and speakers:

  1. Introduction – Deborah Pugh
  2. Background to ASD and Mental Health – Karen Bopp, PhD, RSLP
  3. Why are Psychiatric Comorbidities Important? – Anthony Bailey, FRCPsych
  4. Role of the Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Richard Stock, PhD, BCBA-D
  5. Reflections from the Panel – Balbinder Gill, PhD & Grace Iarocci, PhD, RPsych
  6. Question Period

View Webinar 1 videos and resources here:
www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/recognising/

Part 2: Treating Anxiety, Depression and OCD in Children and Youth with ASD

Webinar 2 focuses on specific mental health conditions that affect children with ASD and their treatment. It also includes discussion on screening, assessment and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Total time: 77 minutes.

Webinar 2 outline and speakers:

  1. Introduction – Deborah Pugh
  2. Anxiety – Melanie McConnell, PhD, RPsych
  3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – David Worling, PhD, RPsych
  4. Depression – Anthony Bailey, FRCPsych
  5. Panelist – Georgina Robinson, PhD
  6. Panelist – David Batstone, PhD, RPsych
  7. Questions and Answers

View Webinar 2 videos and resources here:
www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/treating/

OMHAP Advisory Committee

Content and structure for OMHAP is determined by an expert advisory committee. Please see www.actcommunity.ca/education/mentalhealth/committee/ for more information about the Advisory Committee and the OMHAP initiative.

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

calendar

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

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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.