Schools and Students with High Functioning Autism

We provide autism diagnostic services in our Burnaby office and therefore we often help parents work with the school district to develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and curriculum.

Regretfully, over the past few years we are also seeing more and more students who, at age 18-19, are finished with school, will get their diplomas, but are unable to engage in an interview, work, refuse to leave their rooms, have no social support system other than their parents and suffer from anxiety and depression because they have become aware of their social deficits. These are all issues that should have been addressed by the student’s school in their IEP over the last several years.

I don’t have all the answers, but here I would like to at least provide some resources parents should be aware of. More important, your school should be aware of, making use of, and have practiced with over time.

Locally:Odin Books

108 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1V9
Parents often ask about resources materials. Of course there are those available on-line from Indigo, Amazon etc. Locally we have one bookstore that focuses on educational materials, Odin Books. Most of the books listed below are available there, as are the series of books for children called “Superflex.” They have additional Superflex materials to like posters.  They also have all of the materials used in the Incredible 5-Point Scale Model by Kari Dunn Buron.

The Five Point Incredible Scale: Kari Dunn Buron
(These materials are available at Amazon and
I strongly suggest these materials- The 5 Point Scale - rather than the common 3 Point Scale and  “Engine” programs used in some schools as they include a variety of support materials often used for executive functioning issues, anxiety and depression, and have materials appropriate for teens and young adults using the same visual supports.  A great set of materials is “A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control,” used to tech about the spectrum of emotions and feelings rather than the problematic black and white/all or nothing thinking we often see. These materials can often be taught to the entire class. 

Social Thinking: Michelle Winner
Another major place for information and guidance:

This is the website for Michelle Garcia Winner, really the leading figure in the field of working with children and teens with autism, Level 1 (what we use to call high functioning autism of HFA. You will find curriculum materials here that are commonly used in schools in Canada and the United States. Michelle also has a large clinic in San Jose, CA and provides training workshops around the world. On-Line training is also available.

Every teacher in the field of autism should be familiar with some, if not all of these books. Social Behavior Mapping is used in small groups in the schools to teach social thinking. Think Social is a great first book for teachers, as is Thinking About You Thinking About Me.

Province Wide: POPARD
Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders (POPARD)
4746 57 St, Delta, BC V4K 4B5

Here in BC POPARD, the Provincial Program for Autism and Related Disorders provides consultants to schools throughout the province. They go to the school, do observations of individual students, help the school based team/parents write an intervention plan and provide workshops for the staff.  Most staff training in autism happens at their site in the Delta school district. 

Each school has a POPARD District Partner. The POPARD District Partner is the liaison between POPARD and school-based teams. He or she coordinates visits by the POPARD's Education and Behaviour Consultants, helps to prioritize the students who will be seen, and ensures that all members of the team are aware of any recommendations.

Other Websites: From POPARD

Autism Awareness Center

A Canadian organization that provides workshops and conferences across Canada on topics within autism

Autism Community Training-ACT

ACT provides information and support to parents, professionals and para professionals on autism-related issues as well as high quality workshops in Vancouver and throughout the province. To see their upcoming event schedule, go to 

Autism Society Canada

Autism Society Canada works across the country to reduce the profound impact of autism spectrum disorders on individuals and their families and to support the implementation of better surveillance, quality research and universally accessible, scientifically validated treatment and service delivery for all Canadians with autism spectrum disorders.

BC Ministry of Education

Special Education Review, "Teaching Students with Autism Resource Guide" (2000) in downloadable format, basic information on BC's education system.

Carol Gray and Social Stories


This site is a hands-on resource which is operated by the TEACCH program at the University of North Carolina. It has a multitude of interesting and useful visuals and ideas.

Tony Attwood

Articles by Tony Attwood, abstracts from research papers. Asperger Syndrome focus.

Geneva Center for Autism

Located in Toronto with information on conferences, book reviews and links.

Project Access

Good links page, has lots of downloadable articles on education/autism issues.


Websites for Parents and Teachers

Bringing ABA
This is a blog by Debra Leach, author of Bringing ABA into your Inclusive Classroom. This site offers tips, ideas, and strategies for bringing Applied Behavior Analysis into natural contexts to support children and adults with autism spectrum disorders and related disabilities. 

National Autism Center

The National Autism Center (US) has released the Evidence-Based Practice and Autism in the Schools Educator Manual. This comprehensive manual assists educators in the selection and implementation of the most effective research-supported treatments for ASD. In addition to providing important information about newly published research findings, it offers guidance on how to integrate professional judgement, family values, and preferences into treatment selection in order to build capacity and implement interventions accurately.

Autism Awareness Center

The Centre believes that education is the key to success in assisting individuals who have autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger Syndrome and other disorders such as Tourette Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). With numerous social, communication, and behavioral intervention methods and the more recent field of biomedical interventions, it is important to keep parents and professionals on the leading edge of new information. By hosting workshops across Canada and providing resource support both in Canada and abroad, the Autism Awareness Centre is committed to ensuring information reaches all communities.

BCAAN Autism Assessment Program. 

Information on how children in B.C. are diagnosed.

BCTF Parents' Page 

Links to the British Columbia Teachers' Federation website. Designed to help parents understand the roles and responsibilities of teachers, teaching assistants and schools.

SET-BC (Special Education Technology British Columbia) 

Information on technology resources available to BC students, and procedures for service delivery

Something Completely Different That Makes You Feel Good About Parenting

Dr. John Gottman has a wonderful DVD and book called Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child.      This is a wonderful DVD, I’d watch it. You might find it through the local library, or through the Gottman Institute. But here is a short section of the video:

These resources are just a few. If you are a parent of a child with ASD most importantly I would try to meet other parents and develop a support group. They will be the best resource you can find.