The Essentials of Advocacy

A Parent's Guide to Advocating for Their Child With Special Needs

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Deborah Pugh
Executive Director, ACT - Autism Community Training

Simon Fraser University - Downtown Campus, Vancouver, BC

The Essentials of Advocacy

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

Level Introductory/Intermediate
For Family members and community professionals interested in supporting parents
Focus Age-span
Autism-specific? No

Page Index

About the Event

Convincing decision-makers that a child with special needs has special challenges requiring individualized accommodation can be very challenging for parents – especially since they are often still grappling with their child’s diagnosis and understanding systems of service delivery. This day will help families better understand how to effectively and positively advocate for their children - regardless of their child’s specific special need. Most examples will be drawn from the B.C. education system; however, basic advocacy strategies relevant in other systems will be addressed in order to empower parents to gain confidence by understanding their roles, rights and responsibilities.

Topics covered include:

  • What is Advocacy Anyway? The Big Picture
  • Finding the Information You Need to Advocate for Your Child – Knowledge is Power!
  • Keeping the Focus on Your Child 
  • Honing Your Advocacy Skills – documentation, letters, meetings and appeals
  • Polishing Your Behavioral Skills
  • Collaboration
  • Pulling it all together ‐the context of the school system

Participant Comments

  • "I learned the importance of documentation and how to communicate in an effective way to be heard" (parent)
  • "I learned some good language for advocating that I will definitely use" (parent)
  • "I feel empowered to advocate in a sensitive, positive way." (parent)
  • "A great approach to made yourself heard and respected without becoming 'the problem parent'" (parent & professional)

About the Presenter

Deborah Pugh has been actively engaged in advocacy within the autism community on both a provincial and national level for the past 20 years.  She is the former Executive Director of the Autism Society of B.C. and the founder of ACT - Autism Community Training. She has helped hundreds of families successfully advocate for their children.

Workshop Schedule

8:30 - 9:00 Check-in
9:00 - 10:15 Session 1
10:15 - 10:30 Morning break (light snacks will be served)
10:30 - 12:00 Session 2
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch (buy or bring your own lunch)
1:00 - 2:15 Session 3
2:15 - 2:30 Afternoon break (light snacks will be served)
2:30 - 3:30 Session 4


Date Parents, Para-Pros & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends October 7th, 2015 $65 $80
Regular Rate ends November 12th, 2015 $85 $100
Late Rate begins November 13th, 2015 $115 $130


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 in the form of reduced registration fees. Please read Bursary Information. 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.

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 >

Workshop Location

Simon Fraser University - Downtown Campus, Room 1700 - Labatt Hall
Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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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

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