ACT’s 14th Annual Focus on Research Conference

What is Research Telling Us About Women and Girls with Autism?

Thursday & Friday, April 5 & 6, 2018


SFU Downtown Campus - Harbour Centre, Vancouver, BC, & Web Streaming!

ACT’s 14th Annual Focus on Research Conference

You can also register by calling us or mail our View event schedule and registration form (pdf)

Level Intermediate/Advanced
For Community Professionals, Researchers, Family Members and Women with ASD
Approach Informing community professionals and family members about the research associated with autism in females using the framework of evidence-based practice
Focus Across the Lifespan
Autism-specific? Yes
Co-sponsored by

Co-sponsored by Simon Fraser University. 
Web streaming is supported by the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Page Index

About the Event

Live stream: Watch and participate live from anywhere by registering for web streaming.  All times are Pacific Standard Time.

View the event schedule (pdf)

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.

Conference Highlights

  • 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 Panels

  • 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.

Panelists

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.

Ryann Calkins grew up on a cattle ranch in central Alberta, moving to BC in her mid teens. She has worked as a lifeguard and swimming instructor for six years. She is in the process of finishing her degree at UBC Okanogan studying languages.

Iris Gray was diagnosed with ASD in 2005. She organizes two peer support groups for autistic adults in Victoria. One of them is specifically for autistic women. Ms Gray works as a freelance transcriber and editor.

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 is a strong proponent of "Nothing about us, without us."

Nicole Provost is a 23 year old physics student and entrepreneur from Abbotsford BC and is the founder of the 'Mayday Club Youth Choir' – most members are teens on the autism spectrum. In addition, Nicole tutors students in pre-calculus, teaches competitive tap dancing and does voice acting. After graduating university, Nicole hopes to attend medical school, and become a paediatric oncologist.


2:45pm - 4:00pm, Thursday, April 5
Special Challenges Faced by Mothers with ASD

Introduced and moderated by Dr. Grace Iarocci.

Jennifer Branston is the mother of two children, a 24-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son whom, until recently, she home-schooled. Jennifer received a diagnosis of ASD less than two years after her son was diagnosed. Jennifer lives in the Lower Mainland of B.C.

Julia Rose is a Children and Youth with Special Needs Consultant for Vancouver Island, with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. She has been in her position for the past 11 years and has prior experience in autism policy and front line social work. The role also involves advising the ministry’s provincial office; the autism funding branch, policy, practice and operations.

Kristy Tremblay discovered information about women on the spectrum when she was researching strategies to help support her son who had received a diagnosis. Ms. Tremblay was diagnosis in 2016. She lives in tkemlups (Kamloops), on unceded Secwepemc territory.


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.

Workshop Schedule

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

8:15am
Registration
9:00am
Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre
Introductions
9:00am - 9:10am
9:10am
Key Note Presentation (Part 1)
9:10am - 10:15am
William Mandy, PhD, DClinPsy
10:15am
Morning Break
Refreshments served
10:45am
The Experience of Women with ASD
A panel of women with ASD - introduced and moderated by Dr. Rene Jamison
1:00pm
Key Note Presentation (Part 2)
1:00pm - 2:15pm
William Mandy, PhD, DClinPsy
2:15pm
Afternoon break
Refreshments served
2:45pm
Special Challenges Faced by Mothers with ASD
Panel presentation introduced and moderated by Dr. Grace Iarocci

Friday, April 6th, 2018

9:00am
Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre
Introductions
9:00am - 9:10am
9:10am
Key Note Presentation (Part 1): Dr. Rene Jamison and Dr. Jessica Oeth Schuttler, University of Kansas
9:10am - 10:45am
10:15am
Morning Break
Refreshments served
10:45am
Autism Prevalence among Youth in Canada – A report of the 2018 National ASD Surveillance System
Presented by Professor Anthony Bailey, Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UBC
12:00pm
Segal Centre - Room 1400
Networking Paper Bag Lunch
Refreshments served
12:00pm - 1:00pm
12:30pm
Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre
Concert by the Mayday Club Youth Choir
Refreshments served
12:30pm - 1:00pm
1:00pm
Key Note Presentation (Part 2): Dr. Rene Jamison and Dr. Jessica Oeth Schuttler, University of Kansas
1:00pm - 2:15pm
2:15pm
Afternoon break
Refreshments served
2:45pm
Panel presentation introduced and moderated by Dr. Anthony Bailey, University of British Columbia, BC
2:45pm - 4:00pm

Cost/Funding

 

  Date Family members or Individuals with ASD Para-Pros & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends March 19th, 2018 $150 $150 $200
Regular Rate ends March 29th, 2018 $175 $175 $225
Late rate begins March 30th, 2018 $200 $200 $250

Bursaries

In addition to the time-limited MCFD bursaries (see below), ACT continues to offer bursaries for para-professionals and professionals, as well as parents of children with other special needs, to improve accessibility to both our live and web streamed events. Please apply early and before you register for the event. ACT provided $31,000 in bursary funding in 2017 in the form of reduced registration fees and gratefully accepts donations to our bursary fund to allow us to provide a greater level of support. Donate to ACT's bursary fund.

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.

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. For more information, please see Workshop Registration Using Autism Funding.

Workshop Location

SFU Downtown Campus - Harbour Centre, Room 1900 - Fletcher Challenge Theatre
515 West Hastings
Vancouver, BC, & Web Streaming!

Click to view full map

Parking is expensive downtown, however this venue is very accessible by public transit. Contact Translink for directions and schedules for the West Coast Express, Skytrain, Seabus and bus routes.

Hotel Information

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