ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research Conference

Mental Health - Looking Beyond Autism

Focus on research 2017 Presenters Dr. Weiss and Dr. Gillberg

Friday & Saturday, April 28 & 29, 2017

SFU Downtown Campus - Harbour Centre

ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research Conference

You can also register by calling us or mail our print form (pdf) .

Level Intermediate/Advanced
For Community Professionals, Researchers and Family Members
Approach Informing community professionals and family members about the importance of addressing the mental health concerns often associated with autism using the framework of evidence-based practice
Focus Across the Life Span
Autism-specific? Focused on autism but also relevant to co-occurring conditions
Co-sponsored by

This conference is part of ACT’s Online Mental Health and Autism Initiative, supported by the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the University of British Columbia. Additional support provided by Simon Fraser University.

For details see

Page Index

About the Event

  • We are now sold-out for in-person seats. Please call the ACT office at 604-205-5467 or 1-866-939-5188 to be added to the waitlist.
  • Web-streaming spots with bursaries* are still available. 
  • *30 web-streaming spots available for parents thanks to MCFD's bursary program

Autism & Mental Health - Looking Beyond Autism
ACT’s 13th Annual Focus on Research Conference will provide a forum for community professionals, researchers, and families to learn how to address co-occurring mental health conditions and consider solutions to the complex realities facing individuals with autism with mental health conditions.

Conference Goal

The goal of this conference is to build understanding and collaboration between researchers, clinicians, educators and families to improve equitable access to mental health services for people with ASD across the life-span.

About Live Online Streaming
Talks will be web streamed online and for registered viewers only. Registered viewers will be emailed a link to the online streaming page prior to the event. Please provide your preferred email address when registering. More details on online streaming

UBC-CPD Accredited Conference for MOC Section 1 and Mainpro+ Credits 

The University of British Columbia Division of Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) is fully accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Continuing Medical Education (CACME) to provide study credits for continuing medical education for physicians. This course has been reviewed and approved by the UBC Division of Continuing Professional Development. This Group Learning course meets the certification criteria of the College of Family Physicians of Canada and has been certified by UBC CPD for up to 11.5 Mainpro+ credits. This course is an Accredited Group Learning Activity eligible for up to 11.5 MOC Section 1 credits as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Each physician should claim only those credits he/she actually spent in the activity.

This program was co-developed by UBC Dept of Psychiatry and ACT - Autism Community Training and was planned to achieve scientific integrity, objectivity and balance.

About the Presenter

Friday, April 28, 2017
Keynote Speaker: Jonathan Weiss, PhD, CPsych, Chair, ASD Treatment and Care Research, York University, Toronto

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

Weiss_photoThis talk will describe the individual factors and the context that increase the likelihood of mental health problems in individuals with autism, and the ways that we can alleviate these problems by working with individuals, families, and communities.

See Details and Learning Objectives


Saturday, April 29, 2017
Keynote Speaker: Christopher Gillberg, MD, PhD, Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry,  University of Gothenberg, Sweden

ESSENCE* - Early Recognition of ASD and Associated Disorders Can Lead to Better Outcomes
*Early Symptomatic Syndromes Eliciting Neurodevelopmental Clinical Examinations 

The ESSENCE approach, developed by Dr. Gillberg, recognizes that ASD, ADHD and various learning problems, are common childhood onset disorders affecting about 10% of the general population. Without early recognition, psycho-education, and other targeted interventions, adaptive outcomes in adult life are generally poor. However, appropriate measures, taken before adolescence, can improve prognosis considerably.

See Details and Learning Objectives

Conference Presenters
Click links below for details. 

Day 1: Presenters

Day 2 : Presenters

Workshop Schedule


    In-Person or Live Webstream In-Person or Live Webstream
   Date  Parents, Para-pros
& Students
Early Bird ends  April 7, 2017 $100 $150
Regular Rate begins  April 8, 2017 $150 $200
  • We are now sold-out for in-person seats. Please call the ACT office at 604-205-5467 or 1-866-939-5188 to be added to the waitlist.
  • Web-streaming spots with bursaries* are still available. 
  • *30 web-streaming spots available for parents thanks to MCFD's bursary program


ACT's Bursary Program
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.  You are welcome to call or email ACT's office ( for more information. ACT provided over $27,000 in bursaries in 2016 and gratefully accepts donations to our bursary fund to allow us to provide a greater level of support. Donate to our bursary fund.
Learn more about how to register using the ACT event bursary program.

New MCFD-funded Event Bursaries for Parents of Children with ASD 
MCFD has provided ACT with funding for a bursary program for parents and caregivers of children with autism to attend ACT events at a reduced registration rate of $35 per day until March 31, 2018. Seats will be filled on a first come, first registered basis. Each parent is eligible to receive one in-person event bursary up until March 31, 2018. Additional bursaries are available to register for web streamed events. Learn more about how to register using the MCFD event bursary program. 

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. More information on using Autism Funding

Hotel Information

Looking for a hotel? View the hotels that give ACT a preferred rate.