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Report on ACT’s Information and Support Services 2006

In addition to our comprehensive workshop offerings, ACT provides a valuable service for parents, para-professionals and professionals in the BC ‘autism community’. For some this may be ACT’s best kept secret!  To follow is an excerpt from ACT’s Annual Report that provides an overview of our service, where inquiries can be directed to ACT and how we can provide answers and support.  

Direct Contact with Information Officers
Throughout 2006 a steady increase in the number of contacts from parents, para-professionals and professionals seeking information provides evidence of the value of this service for British Columbians. 

The total number of information-related contacts ACT Information Officers responded to in 2006 increased by 59% when comparing the number of contacts in the first quarter of 2006 to those during the fourth quarter of 2006. 

The majority of our calls come from the heavily populated areas of BC, the Fraser Region and the Vancouver Coastal Region.  We are however, receiving a gradual increase in inquiries from other Regions in the province.  Our toll free number, 1-866-939-5188, means there is no cost to callers to reach ACT. The nature of calls is varied but complex with questions about ASD in general, the Ministry of Children and Family Development services, education matters, Ministry of Health issues, and training. 

One might expect that calls are mainly coming from parents of newly diagnosed children but this is not entirely the case.  As children with ASD grow and evolve, their needs and that of their families evolve too.  Disappointingly, there are still many children over the age of 6 who receive late diagnoses which means there are different kinds of questions and support sought by these families.  Older children who have not received the benefit of early intervention can present very different challenges when compared to children who have progressed positively due to excellent treatment.  Although volumes of research studies are published at this time, the capacity in British Columbia to provide good quality intervention for any aged child with ASD is limited.  Families of children with ASD over the age of 6 years report far more concerns about determining first what intervention is appropriate for their children and then locating service providers with the capacity to provide service. 

As the number of children being diagnosed with ASD in the province is growing, ACT has worked hard to respond to the increasing number of contacts along with the significantly complex situations for which families request support.

ACT continues to welcome calls, emails and letters from people requesting information and support around autism-related issues.

ACT’s Web-Net (www.actcommunity.net)
In 2006 a new look website was launched to better serve visitors with greater functionality, more information including a listing of various resources throughout the provinces, news items highlighted on the homepage, and a much improved listing of ACT workshops and ACT on Tour.  

Along with many direct compliments on our website, the statistics reveal increasing popularity of the ACT site.  In the 2006 year we experienced a 294% increase in visits to our website when compared to last year and a 98% increase in the number of unique visitors during 2006.  We are pleased that our site has proven to be so popular and of help to the community.




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