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Report on ACT Training in 2006

2006 was an incredibly busy year for ACT – our second year as a not-for-profit society. Over the year ACT provided over 22,000 hours of instruction at 41 events to 2760 registrants in three languages! 50 percent of our registrants are parents, 30 percent professionals and 20 percent para-professionals.

Our speakers and staff traveled to 14 communities in 2006 including, Abbotsford, Castlegar,  Chemainus, Comox Valley, Cranbrook, Fort St. John, Harrison Hot Springs, Kamloops, Kelowna, Mackenzie, Prince George, Victoria, Williams Lake, in addition to 18 events in Vancouver at our base at Simon Fraser University’s Downtown Campus.  

Many factors have gone in to last year’s flurry of activity; chief among them is the on-going commitment of our BC based autism specialists. They have been prepared to travel around the province top resent talks specially prepared for ACT. The cost of going on the road has been subsidized by funding from the BC Ministry for Children and Family Development, and from the money we raise from our larger Vancouver based events.  Our goal is that no matter where we present across BC, the registrants pay the same.  In each community we have volunteers who have assisted us with these events – we could not do it without their support.

Special thanks to:

ACT has been extremely fortunate in that Simon Fraser University offered us their wonderful facilities at their downtown campus at a reduced cost. Registrants who come to Vancouver from all over BC for more specialized training have told us how much they appreciate this central facility, which can be reached easily by public transportation.

In 2006, we had registrants from all over the US and Canada, as well as Australia, Lebanon, Hong Kong and the Philippines. They told us they want us to provide quality training in their communities, but serving all of BC is providing us with enough challenge for the foreseeable future!

SFU’s facilities have made it possible for us to bring in a number of leading international specialists to Vancouver, including Professors Wendy Stone and Simon Baron-Cohen as well as American SLP’s Michelle Winner, Dr. Enid Wolf-Schein and Dr. Edna Smith. It is also the venue for a one week course by BC’s own Marianne MacKenzie, which is always over subscribed!

We began two other important initiatives in 2006. The first was webcasting Dr. Pat Mirenda’s very amusing presentation, Toilet Training – It’s Never Too Late presented in the elegant Asia-Pacific Hall, much to the enjoyment of parent participants.

The second was our first workshops in Cantonese and Mandarin, An Introduction to Autism Treatment, developed by ACT’s Information Officer, Hugo Chan. This is an important initiative to serve Chinese speaking families who are committed to supporting their own children with autism to learn to communicate.

In addition, we have been able to expand our bursary program using both donations and profits made from our Vancouver workshops. This has allowed us to provide $6000 in subsidies to low income registrants. We also set up a bursary fund with money donated to ACT as a result of the fines levied against the BCTF by the courts. Over $1300 in subsidy was distributed to members of the BCTF by the end of 2006.

ACT’s volunteer Advisory Council and Board of Directors, composed of both professionals and parents have been essential in providing us with ideas and direction for our training, as they are in touch with families throughout the province.

Our special thanks to participants in our events in 2006. While we know that we still have so much to do, none of these achievements would have been possible without the tremendous enthusiasm of the parents, professionals and para-professionals who come to our events and reinforce all ACT’s efforts by demonstrating their commitment to individuals with ASD in our province. We look forward to seeing you for our 2007 events and those we are planning for 2008. As always, please send me your suggestions for speakers and topics. We are constantly developing new ideas and look forward to hearing from you.

Deborah Pugh
Director Research & Training
ACT – Autism Community Training


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