Goals of ACT’s 14th Annual Focus on Research Conference
The goal of this conference is to improve access to diagnosis and support for women and girls with autism and to build collaboration between researchers, clinicians, educators, individuals with ASD and their families.
Why Focus on Women and Girls with ASD?
Historically, research has shown that ASD is much more common in males than females but researchers are increasingly recognizing that autism affects women and girls differently and that diagnosis may well be delayed in females, reducing access to services, with implications for long-term mental health and employment prospects.
While this conference will feature recent research, it will focus on the experience and perspectives of women and girls with autism, in particular, on how future research could better inform the services and resources available to women and girls.
Two keynotes presentations by internationally recognized autism researchers/clinicians:
Dr. William Mandy and Dr. Rene Jamison.
Three panel presentations, featuring women with ASD, researchers, and a range of community-based professionals.
A presentation on the Canadian government’s first national autism prevalence survey report.
The Experience of Women with ASD – Introduced and moderated by Dr. Rene Jamison, University of Kansas
The Special Challenges Faced by Mothers with ASD - Introduced and moderated by Dr. Grace Iarocci, Simon Fraser University
Setting Priorities for Future Research - Introduced and moderated by Dr. Anthony Bailey, University of British Columbia
About the Presenter
Thursday, April 5, 2018
Keynote Speaker: Dr. William Mandy, University College London, UK
Improving the Identification and Care of Women on the Autism Spectrum
Dr. William Mandy is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at University College London (UCL). His work aims to improve the recognition of autism, and to develop new interventions to help autistic people. He has a particular research interest in improving the identification and care of females on the autism spectrum, who are currently at high risk of going unnoticed and unhelped by clinical and educational services. He also studies sub-diagnostic autistic traits in non-clinical populations, and the role these can play in the development of a range of common childhood, adolescent and adult mental health problems. With colleagues at Great Ormond Street Hospital’s National Centre for High-Functioning Autism he has developed and trialled interventions to help children with autism transition from primary to secondary school, and to teach children about their autism diagnosis, with an emphasis on fostering their sense of self-worth and pride.
In this talk, Dr. Mandy will share his research about the characteristics of autism in females, how this affects diagnosis, and ways of improving recognition, with a focus on improving clinical and educational practice. Dr. Mandy is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at University College London (UCL). His work aims to improve the recognition of autism, and to develop new interventions to help autistic people. He has a particular research interest in improving the identification and care of females on the autism spectrum, who are currently at high risk of going unnoticed and under served by clinical and educational services.
Friday, April 6, 2018
Key Note Speakers: Dr. Rene Jamison and Dr. Jessica Oeth Schuttler, Center for Child Health and Development (CCHD), University of Kansas Medical Center
Girls Night Out: Lessons learned from a unique intervention for girls with autism
Dr. Rene Jamison is an Associate Professor and licensed psychologist in pediatrics at the Center for Child Health and Development (CCHD), University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Jamison’s primary area of research focuses on females with autism, identifying key factors that contribute to social competence across development and interventions to improve social-emotional health.
Dr. Jessica Oeth Schuttler is a licensed psychologist and clinical assistant professor within pediatrics also at the CCHD. She is the associate director for the Girls Night Out Program (GNO) and key collaborator on related research projects, community partnership, and training efforts to create more inclusive communities. She has experience working in schools, clinical, and community settings.
Dr. Jamison established Girls Night Out (GNO) in 2008 with the goal of providing socially valid and meaningful interventions designed specifically for females with autism and related developmental disabilities. GNO’s mission is to empower girls and young women with and without autism. GNO takes place within the community and during activities that social or self-care care skills would naturally occur, along with trained, peer volunteers to ensure authentic opportunities for successful practice within realistic social settings. Most important GNO is fun, creating opportunities for social experiences and to build relationships and for a much needed Girls Night Out!
In addition to presenting, key elements of the GNO model that result in meaningful outcomes for girls and women with autism and their families, research will be presented that illustrates the effect of the discrepancy in diagnosis between males and females, a secondary impact on females with autism, possibly exacerbating social-communication impairments and risk for co-occurring mental health conditions.
10:45am - 12:00pm, Thursday, April 5
The Experience of Women with ASD
A panel of women with ASD - introduced and moderated by Dr. Rene Jamison.
Panelist bios coming soon!
2:45pm - 4:00pm, Thursday, April 5
Special Challenges Faced by Mothers with ASD
Introduced and moderated by Dr. Grace Iarocci.
Panelist bios coming soon!
2:45pm - 4:00pm, Friday, April 6
Setting Priorities for future research
Stephany Berinstein – Occupational Therapist, Gastown Vocational Services, BC
Stephany is an Occupational Therapist and the Program Coordinator for Gastown Vocational Services, The Art Studios, and consults with SpectrumWorks. Stephany specializes in mental health and vocational rehabilitation. She leads a vocational rehabilitation program, using best practices to support mental wellness and meaningful, sustainable employment.
Carly Eirikson – Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders, BC
Carly Eirikson currently works as an Education and Behaviour Consultant for the Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD) and as an instructor for the Richmond Educational Assistant Program (REAP). She completed a M.Ed in Autism and Developmental Disorders from UBC and has previously worked as Resource Teacher and elementary classroom teacher with the Richmond School District.
Dr. Grace Iarocci – Simon Fraser University, BC
Grace Iarocci, PhD., R. Psych. is a Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, and Director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab. She is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar, and an Autism Research Training Program mentor.
Dr. Rene Jamison – University of Kansas, USA
Dr. Rene Jamison is an Associate Professor and licensed psychologist in pediatrics at the Center for Child Health and Development (CCHD), University of Kansas Medical Center.
Vivian Ly – Canadian Autistics United, BC
Vivian Ly is an autistic self-advocate and the Executive Director of Canadian Autistics United, a grassroots disability rights organization that works to improve the lives of autistic Canadians through self-advocacy. Vivian's focus is on building communities with a foundation of solidarity and pride, incorporating principles of intersectionality, inclusion, and respect for all. Vivian is a strong proponent of "Nothing about us, without us."
Dr. William Mandy – University College London, UK
Dr. William Mandy is a clinical psychologist and senior lecturer at University College London (UCL). His work aims to improve the recognition of autism, and to develop new interventions to help autistic people.
MCFD-funded Event Bursaries for Parents of Children with ASD
Please note that the MCFD Parent Bursary funding has been exhausted. Since April 1, 2017, ACT has used MCFD Parent Bursary funding to provide bursaries in the form of reduced registration to families & caregivers from across B.C. to enable them to build their skills by accessing training. Regular registration rates are now in effect however parents of children with ASD are welcome to apply for an ACT Bursary if the registration cost is a barrier preventing attendance.
For more information on ACT's Bursary programs, see our Bursary FAQ page.
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. For more information, please see Workshop Registration Using Autism Funding.
SFU Downtown Campus - Harbour Centre, Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre
515 West Hastings
BC, & Web Streaming!