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Fostering Well-Being in Autistic Girls and Women – In-Person


Friday & Saturday, September 30 & October 1, 2022

September 30, 2022 & October 01, 2022

9:30 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time

Recording available for one month after the live stream for all registrants

Presented by Dori Zener, MSW, RSW

Join Dori Zener for a two-day event providing insights on supporting autistic girls and women.

Available Options

In-Person: Family Member/Autistic Adult/Para-pro/Student $150.00
In-Person: Professional $200.00

For information on bursaries for low-income individuals or Indigenous community members, see ACT’s Bursary page.

Group discounts

Receive a 10% discount when registering 3 or more attendees at the same time.

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Event Details

About the Event

On Day 1, this presentation will offer practical insights for professionals to better understand how to support autistic girls and women, including case studies. On Day 2, there will be a panel discussion featuring autistic women, as well as an opportunity for those living with autism to pose questions to Dori Zener in a special ‘Ask a Therapist’ session. Ms. Zener will shed light on the varied strengths and needs of autistic women and girls, drawing on her 15 years of experience as an Individual, Couple and Family Therapist, specializing in fostering well-being among neurodivergent individuals.

Girls and Women are often overlooked in autism research, clinical training and service provision. Due to difficulties reading social cues, autistic girls and women, in general, are disproportionately victims of bullying, sexual assault and abusive relationships. Mental health challenges such anxiety, depression, panic, eating disorders, ADHD, OCD and addictions are exacerbated by the lack of awareness of the needs of women and girls. By shedding light on their experiences and providing practical strategies, we can support autistic girls and women to thrive.

Session Details

Day 1: Friday, September 30, 2022, 9:30am to 2:30pm Pacific Time

The INVEST Model – Case Studies

The INVEST model [Identify Needs, Validate, Educate, Strengthen and Thrive], developed by Dori Zener, identifies the essential elements to promote well-being. Using a series of case studies from her own practice, Dori will illustrate how educators, clinicians and family members can use practical strategies to better support autistic girls and women.


  • Session 1: 9:30am - 11:00am: Profile of Autistic Girls and Women
  • Session 2: 11:20am - 12:30pm: The INVEST Model
  • Session 3: 1:30pm - 2:30pm: Case Studies

Day 2: Saturday, October 1, 2022, 10:00am to 1:30pm Pacific Time 

Panel Discussion and Q & A - 'Ask a Therapist'

A panel, including autistic women discussing their lived experience, will begin the day. The 'Ask a Therapist' session that follows will provide an opportunity for autistic youth and adults, and their families, to have their questions answered by Dori Zener. ACT will circulate a form to all registrants so they can submit their questions online in advance – to protect the privacy of participants. Ms. Zener will organize the questions/answers to cover as many questions as possible.


Panel Discussion

  • Session 1: 10:00am - 11:30am: Panel Discussion
  • Session 2: 12:15pm - 1:30pm: Q & A - ‘Ask a Therapist’ Session

Participant Comments

Comments from past workshops with Dori Zener

  • “This is the first time I've felt truly seen by a professional. Thank you so much for the clear and well-formulated way you explain these things that I've never been able to put words to.” - Autistic woman
  • “Very relevant topic with a lot of evidence-based info. I appreciated the amount of practical info and strategies presented.” - Professional
  • “The compassion, commitment and knowledge of the presenter is absolutely amazing!” - Parent

ACT’s Commitment to Public Health Measures

ACT is committed to following public health recommendations for our in-person events.

We will require proof of vaccination status for all people attending the event in-person. This is to protect the health of vulnerable attendees, staff and our presenter as we will be sharing the same space for two days. We will encourage the use of masks, even if it is not a public health requirement.

If you are unable to meet these requirements, online attendance via web stream is available, or you may request a full refund before September 22, 2022. After September 22, ACT will offer a transfer to online attendance.

As public health requirements may change shortly prior to the event, please be prepared to carefully review your emails from ACT for the latest information.

In the event public health orders will not permit in-person gatherings on September 30 and October 1, 2022, all in-person registrations will be transferred to online attendance via web stream. See current BC Public Health Orders.

About the Presenter

Dori Zener, MSW, RSW

Dori Zener, a Registered Social Worker, has been working with neurodivergent individuals and their loved ones for over fifteen years. As an Individual, Couple and Family Therapist, Dori uses person-centred evidence-based therapy techniques to help each client achieve their goals and enhance their lives. She is the Director of Dori Zener & Associates, a neurodiversity-affirming mental health agency in Toronto.  Dori is passionate about autism acceptance. She endeavours to expand the understanding of autism through publications, workshops, research collaborations and corporate consultation.

Dori believes in the power of shared lived experience to foster connection and hope. She has championed the development of four autistic-led peer support groups: Good Company (formerly Asperfemme Toronto), a support group for adult women and nonbinary individuals with official/self-diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum, Chilling on the Spectrum, a young adult support and social group, Navigating Work a unique group for neurodivergent job seekers and Rainbow Spectrum Pride, a support group for autistic 2SLGBTQIA+ adults.


  Date Family Members, Autistic Adults, Para-Pro's & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends July 7, 2022 $150 $200
Regular Rate ends September 19, 2022 $175 $225
Late Rate begins September 20, 2022* $200 $250

*Last day to register is September 26, 2022


ACT provides bursary funds from our own resources and through support from private donors. We encourage autistic girls and women to apply. Anyone wishing to attend an ACT event is eligible to apply if the cost is a barrier to attending the event. Bursaries are provided as reduced event registration fees. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as bursary funds are limited. Visit ACT's Event Bursary page for more information on our bursary programs. Donate to our bursary fund.

Complete ACT's Bursary Form to apply before September 15, 2022 at 4:30pm. If you identify as Indigenous, or work for an Indigenous organization, complete our Bursary Form for Indigenous Community.

Autism Funding

If you wish to use your child’s Autism Funding to pay for your registration, ACT can invoice the Autism Funding Branch directly. If you are paying in advance to be reimbursed, you must contact the Autism Funding Branch for approval first.

For information on how to register with your Autism Funding, visit Workshop Registration Using Autism Funding.

Workshop Location

Simon Fraser University, Downtown Campus (Harbour Centre)
Room 1400-1430 - Segal Centre
515 West Hastings St, Vancouver, BC 

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.



Level Intermediate. Some experience and understanding of autism is assumed.

Focus Autistic youths and adults without significant cognitive impairments but with difficulties in social understanding.

For Autistic women, family members and community professionals.

Autism-Specific? Yes.

Event Schedule

All times are Pacific Time Zone.

Day 1 - September 30, 2022

9:00 am - 9:30 am Registration
9:30 am - 11:00 am Profile of Autistic Girls/Women
11:00 am - 11:20 am Morning Break

Coffee and light snacks will be provided

11:20 am - 12:30 pm INVEST Model Presentation
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch

Bring/buy your own

1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Case Studies

Day 2 - October 1, 2022

9:30 am - 10:00 am Registration

Coffee will be provided

10:00 am - 11:30 am Panel Discussion
11:30 am - 12:15 pm Lunch

Bring/buy your own

12:15 pm - 1:30 pm Q & A - "Ask a Therapist"

ACT Events

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