ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research

Autism & Family Quality of Life – Developing Culturally Responsive Research and Intervention Programming

Friday & Saturday, April 15 & 16, 2016

Roy Richard Grinker, PhD
Professor of Anthropology, International Affairs, and Human Sciences at George Washington University

Simon Fraser University - Downtown Campus

ACT’s 12th Annual Focus on Research

You can also register by calling us.

Co-sponsored by






Community Sponsors:

poAbilities logo Surrey Schools




To sponsor this event, download the sponsorship form for details. 

Page Index

About the Event

NEW: Download the complete schedule or scroll down for a list of speakers, with a link to bios and presentation descriptions. 

Growth in autism awareness over the last decade in the English-speaking world has greatly improved public understanding of the needs and abilities of all children with special needs but many marginalized families are still not receiving adequate levels of support for their children.

Innovation and Collaboration: An agenda for change

This conference will provide a forum for researchers, clinicians, educators, parents and those who work for community organizations to address the realities facing marginalized families who have children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. These families include First Nations, refugees, immigrants; all those isolated by virtue of language, culture or by living in rural or remote areas.

Conference Goal:
The goal of this conference is to build relationships between researchers, community-based clinicians, community organizations and families to facilitate collaboration to better support under-served members of our communities. In particular, we are hoping to provide researchers with the important research questions that the community wishes to have answered, by incorporating panel discussions and other opportunities to share experiences, perspectives and information.

Who Should Attend?
Persons interested in improving access to resources for marginalized families affected by ASD and other developmental conditions, who want the opportunity to engage across disciplines. This includes staff working for immigrant and resettlement agencies, IDP consultants, clinicians, researchers, educators, social workers and family members.

A range of perspectives:

  • 11 presentations by 14 speakers: researchers, clinicians, educators, and parents
  • 2 panel discussions including 12 panelists:
    • Supporting Marginalized Families from the Trenches - Perspectives of Parent-Professionals
    • Setting Research Priorities that Address the Needs of Marginalized Families

Enhanced accessibility:

  • Live online streaming of selected presentations (registration required)
  • Multiple ways to engage with others

Topics include:

  • Supporting marginalized families using Positive Behavior Support
  • Using research to determine whether families should use two languages at home
  • Finding opportunities for culturally responsive research
  • Enhancing outcomes in working with Aboriginal families

Download registration form to register by fax or mail or to see complete schedule. 

Ways to support this innovative conference

  • Become a community partner and host a display table at the conference.
  • Sponsor the costs of web streaming or video recording this conference to increase accessibility

About live online streaming
Selected talks will be web streamed online and for registered viewers only.  Download the schedule for details. Registered viewers will be emailed a link to the online streaming page prior to the event. It is critical that you provide your preferred email address. More details on online streaming 

About the Presenter

Keynote Speaker
Dr. Roy Richard Grinker, Professor of Anthropology, International Affairs, and Human Sciences at George Washington University. Author of Unstrange Minds –Remapping the World of Autism.
Keynote presentation: The Invention and Reinvention of Autism: Research ASD Across Cultures(Click link for details). 

Conference Presenters
Click links below for details. 

Day 1


Conference Panel: Supporting Marginalized Families from the Trenches - Perspectives of Parent- Professionals

  • Roy Richard Grinker, PhD 
  • Deborah Pugh, Executive Director of ACT - Autism Community Training 
  • Bosang Lee, PhD, Executive Director of Here and Now Community Society 
  • Sunita Braich, ASAAP Parent Facilitator; Integration Support Teacher, Surrey School District 
  • Sawsan Salih, Volunteer translator for refugee families; Special Education Assistant
  • Betty-Ann Garreck, Coordinator, Autism Kamloops

Day 2 


Conference Panel: Setting Research Priorities that Address the Needs of Marginalized Families

    • Karen Bopp, PhD, RSLP, Senior Behaviour Consultant, Ministry for Children and Family Development 
    • Diana Elliott, Provincial Advisor for Aboriginal Infant Development Programs 
    • Grace Iarocci, PhD, RPsych, Professor, Simon Fraser University 
    • Bonnie Johnson, PhD, RSLP, Interior Health, Salmon Arm 
    • Georgina Robinson, PhD, Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD)
    • Tamara Salih, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, BC Children's Hospital

Workshop Schedule

Presentations marked with an * asterisk will be webstreamed live for registered viewers


Download Registration Form

 Deadline for Web Streaming Registration is Wednesday, April 13.
Web Streaming (Friday & Saturday)
Web Streaming Rate - Single Viewer $100
Web Streaming Rate - Group (3+ viewers) $250
Attend One Day Only (Friday or Saturday)
    Parents, Para-pros
& Students
Early Bird ends Mar 9th, 2016 $100 $120
Regular Rate ends Apr 6th, 2016 $135 $160
Late Rate begins Apr 7th, 2016 $170 $190

Attend both days (Friday and Saturday)

Date Parents, Para-Pros & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends March 9th, 2016 $150 $175
Regular Rate ends April 6th, 2016 $200 $240
Late Rate begins April 7th, 2016 $250 $275


ACT fundraises to provide bursaries for low-income participants and/or those travelling from outside their home regions to an event. ACT only provides bursaries prior to registration. Please read Bursary Information. You are welcome to call or email ACT's office ( for more information. ACT provided $24,000 in bursaries in 2015 and gratefully accepts donations to our bursary fund to allow us to provide a greater level of support. Donate to our bursary fund.

Autism Funding

Parents who receive Autism Funding may use 20% of the total for equipment, books, training and travel costs. ACT's live events are considered eligible expenses by the Autism Funding Branch. Please pay when you register; the Autism Funding Branch will reimburse parents after the event.
More Autism Funding Information >