“I’m going to be a video game designer!”- Helping Teens Prepare for the REAL Adult World

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP
Director, Social Thinking Training and Speakers' Collaborative, San Jose, California

Mary Winspear Centre, Bodine Family Hall

“I’m going to be a video game designer!”- Helping Teens Prepare for the REAL Adult World

You can also register by calling us.

Level Introductory/Intermediate
For Parents; para-professionals; professionals
Focus Transitioning to Adulthood
Autism-specific? No
Co-sponsored by

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About the Event

At ACT, we hear from many families concerned that their teens with ASD are unprepared to graduate. Academically able students also need help to develop the life skills they need to thrive in higher education and employment.  School and home teams are more effective when they consider these issues at 12 rather than 17! This one day workshop with Dr. Pamela Crooke, who works extensively with able teens and young adults, will provide school teams and parents with a practical approach to helping young people with ASD thrive either in higher education or employment.

Dr. Pamela Crooke, Chief of Research at Social Thinking, is an SLP and academic with long experience in working with youth and young adults with social learning challenges. She is an excellent presenter, blending humour and compassion. Her most recent book geared to adults, Good Intentions Are Not Good Enough, was co-authored with Michelle Garcia Winner.

Interestingly, around the globe, the love affair between the teenager and the field of video game design poses a stumbling block to more realistic planning and preparation for the social demands of the adult world. This transition can overwhelm individuals born to social learning challenges, even those who are “bright” with strong language skills.

This conference focuses on helping parents and professionals (e.g., teachers, counsellors, psychologists, speech language pathologists) prepare for - and respond to - this transition. We will explore the more nuanced expectations that come with the emergence into adulthood, including strategies to help individuals develop a more mature social mindset. 

The day is organized to address some of the most common statements from our tweens/teens and young adults including:

  • "I just want to have a friend.” (Preferably a boy/girlfriend!
  • "I saw a video on YouTube, so I got this.
  • "I already know how to hang out, I just don't know what to say."
  • "I thought the person just wanted to hang out (not take advantage of me)."
  • "My parents are driving me nuts!"
  • "I know what to do, but it stresses me out."

We will use the research related to friendships, anxiety, social communication, and perspective taking to teach concrete strategies for:

  • Becoming comfortable with discomfort  
  • Understanding the levels of friendship and approachability
  • Encouraging self awareness and accountability
  • Understanding stress and anxiety (the good, the bad, and the roadblocks)
  • Motivation and grit (the good 4 letter word) 

Participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the impact that social learning challenges have on academics and relationship building during the teen/young adult years.
  2. Discuss how the Cascade of Social Attention relates to styles of learning (concrete vs. nuanced based).
  3. Explain how anxiety can be a "stop sign" in an individual's ability to use Social Thinking and related skills.
  4. Explain how a student can learn to identify and prioritize his or her own treatment* goals.

*Treatment refers to conceptual and strategy-based frameworks for building understanding and use of social skills and social thinking.

About the Presenter

Pamela Crooke earned her Ph.D. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Prior to joining the Social Thinking team in San Jose, she coordinated autism interdisciplinary clinical services at the Tucson Alliance for Autism in Arizona, served as a clinical and academic faculty member at three universities, and worked for 15 years in Arizona public schools. Dr. Crooke speaks internationally on Social Thinking and has co-authored, with Michelle Garcia Winner, five award-winning books. Treatment efficacy in social and relational therapies for more-able individuals with autism remains Dr. Crooke’s primary area of interest.

Workshop Schedule

8:30 - 9:00 Registration
9:00 - 10:15 Session 1
10:15 - 10:45 Morning break (coffee and light snacks will be provided)
10:45 - 12:15 Session 2
12:15 - 1:00 Lunch (a light lunch will be provided)
1:00 - 2:15 Session 3
2:15 - 2:30 Afternoon Break (coffee and light snacks will be provided)
2:30 - 3:30 Session 4


Date Parents, Para-Pros & Students Professionals
Early Bird Rate ends January 11th, 2018 $200 $250
Regular Rate ends February 15th, 2018 $225 $275
Late Rate begins February 16th, 2018 $250 $300


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 MCFD Parent Bursary funding has been exhausted. Since April 1, 2017, ACT has used MCFD Parent Bursary funding to provide $60,000 in 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.