Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD)

Provincial Outreach Program for Autism & Related Disorders

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Update from the Principal, May 1, 2020

View this letter and full schedule of workshops (PDF)

Dear District Partners, Inclusive Education Administrators, and Parents teaching at home,

POPARD has been very busy pivoting to respond to our unique circumstances. Based on the feedback we have received from districts, parents and teachers, POPARD has redesigned our services. I would like to update you on what has changed at POPARD since March break, and what new services we are offering.

Cancellation of Travel, District Specific and In-Person Services

In keeping with the travel and in-person work restrictions for teachers, all trips to districts and any in- person events, including training, the district partner conference, and student-specific or class-wide consultations, have been cancelled. Recognizing the context in each district and school is different now from what it had been, and the challenges faced by staff, students and their families have shifted, we have decided to start with a relatively clean slate and redesign and reassign our time.

Previously Scheduled Courses and Workshops

Beginning at March break, POPARD converted our 5-day ASD and ABA courses to a live online platform. All scheduled courses as of March break will continue, as long as the host of the course has agreed to continue with the online version. Any previously scheduled Super Workshops are also going ahead via the live online format. Any in-house POPARD training events previously scheduled by March break will also continue, but via our live online platform.

New Training Events

We have created a number of new live online courses and workshop offerings. This includes:
⦁ A new ASD Flex course offered over five weeks to allow for maximum flexibility in access and ample time to complete the content
⦁ Several brief one to three-hour workshops on various topics relevant to parents and teachers supporting learning at home
⦁ Several one and two-day workshops (including more super workshops)
⦁ Family School Liaison training and parent support sessions aimed exclusively at parents

Each of the new workshops will also provide a downloadable handout on the topic summarizing or expanding on key points from the workshop.

Full information about our new training opportunities as well as links to registration are available on this page. As Murphy’s law would have it, technical difficulties beyond our control permanently disabled our website and until we can create a new website, ACT has generously offered to host a POPARD page on their website.

Check-In and Check-Back Service

The new virtual context makes a typical POPARD consultation challenging. Getting all parties involved (home and school team), gathering student records, conducting direct observations, etc., is not easily doable. Instead, we would like to offer our new “Check in and Check Back Service”. This service offers a lot of flexibility for teachers and/or parents in need of support and the turnaround time from request to contact will be much quicker and, we hope, responsive to current needs.

Who can request this service?

A teacher or other professional school staff (e.g., case manager) or a parent.

How is service requested?

Teachers or parents will submit a request for service online via our Request for Check in Service Form. If internet services are not accessible, we ask that you call us at 604-946-3610. At the time of request, the individual signs up for a date and time slot, and indicates their preferred communication forum (Zoom online or phone call).

How do I receive the service?

A POPARD consultant or Family School Liaison will either send a link to Zoom online or make a phone call, depending on forum requested.

What will the service look like?

The initial check-in will be approximately 30-45 minutes, where the consultant will debrief and gather information about the concern and needs. A follow-up date and time will be set by the consultant to check-back, and at that time more information or support will be provided.

What kind of support can I get?

This time-limited virtual support is intended to help teachers or parent’s problem-solve about how to manage student learning and behaviour during the current unusual conditions. Strategies and tips that often work for students with ASD, effective teaching and behaviour management recommendations, as well as links to resources may be provided. This is not intended to replace an individual student consultation nor to resolve complex problems that require deeper investigation.


POPARD has been gathering and creating new resources to support online and virtual instruction for students with ASD and other diverse needs. These resources will be posted on the ACT website soon.

We hope you enjoy our new resources and we will continue to develop and add so please do check back on the ACT website for updates.

How to Contact POPARD

If you would like to contact POPARD with any questions or requests, in order to facilitate communication, we
suggest that it is best to contact us via email at: [email protected]. You may also call 604-946-3610. Our
support staff will forward all inquiries to the appropriate POPARD staff member as we receive them.

POPARD Needs Survey

We have created a POPARD Needs Survey to solicit feedback on how we can best
support schools, students and families during the current COVID-19 situation.

With Support from ACT – Autism Community Training

POPARD is working with ACT to promote upcoming live web streamed events on this page.

A Message from the Principal of POPARD

Since the end of Spring break POPARD staff have been collaborating on ways to best respond to the current and
evolving Covid-19 situation and its impact on schools, students and staff.

We recognize that individual school districts are beginning to sort out what “school” will look like in their
district and for their students. We understand that services will vary greatly depending on what each
district decides. One of our next steps is to invite you to let us know what you need and how we can help.
Starting April 17, 2020, we have begun reaching out to the many districts and independent schools we serve.

Despite the unfortunate timing of having our website malfunction beyond our control, we are committed to
making our resources and services accessible and creating alternative venues for easy communication. We
encourage you to continue to visit this webpage to receive updates.

POPARD looks forward to working closely with the Ministry and our districts as we support our schools, staff,
students and their families at this critical time.


Georgina Robinson, PhD.
Principal, POPARD

POPARD live-online Virtual Learning Series

Visit the event details for web stream access information. Some events require free registration. POPARD is providing many options, including one, two and three-hour zoom workshops joined via a link on the day of the workshop. Others are one and two-day workshops that require prior registration. Each
workshop will provide a handout to accompany the topic
be uploaded on the ACT site after the workshop) and longer workshops requiring pre-registration will
out accompanying materials in advance of the workshop. This new series is open to all school staff and
parents and attendance is free.

POPARD consultants will be hosting a new series of free live-online workshops aimed at helping parents and teachers who are supporting learning at home during the COVID-19 crisis. This initiative recognizes that without school routines and specialized programs, many students with identified disabilities require additional supports and strategies, beyond what can be provided online or in work packages sent home. With parents taking on the role of educator, behavior manager, speech therapist, social skills instructor, and special educator, POPARD’s goal is to empower parents and those teachers who are working with parents during this remote learning challenge – recognizing that no parent should reasonably be expected to replace a full team approach!

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POPARD Family-School Liaison presents: Supporting learning and social-emotional needs at home during COVID:
Interactive sessions for parents

Upcoming Sessions

Visit the event details for web stream access information.

The POPARD Family-School Liaison can be contacted via phone at 604-952-4994 or by email at [email protected]

As parents are in a position of supporting their children at home during the COVID-19 suspension of
in-class instruction, there are many challenges that come with trying to balance the multiple demands
they are now left with. Children with ASD have endured a drastic change to their routines, and loss of
connection to educators and peers. To help support parents through this time, the POPARD Family-School
Liaison will provide weekly Zoom sessions on a variety of topics related to the learning and
social-emotional needs of children with ASD in the home. The sessions will start with a brief
introduction of the topic, including practical strategies, resources and guidance. The sessions will
then provide time for parents to engage in interactive discussion and questions. The sessions will be 45
mins-1hr, and will be offered twice a week to offer flexibility to attend.

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Using Enforced Family Time to Support Learning at Home

Many parents of children with diverse learning needs are feeling particularly pressured to keep up
educational programs during this crisis, even though they have little support to do so. This is
stress on many overwhelmed families. This conversation between two school psychologists and a child
psychiatrist will focus on the practical, to reassure families on how formal and informal learning can
happen on the home front.


  • Dr. Grace Iarocci, Registered Psychologist and Professor of Psychology, Simon
  • Dr. Georgina Robinson, head of the Provincial Program for Autism and Related
    (POPARD), which focuses on training teachers
  • Professor Anthony Bailey, Child Psychiatrist and Chair of Child and Adolescent
    Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
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