Burnaby autism organization receives grant

A grant to a Burnaby organization will help make it easier for adults with autism find a meaningful job.

ACT-Autism Community Training in Burnaby has received $25,000 from Autism Speaks Canada to produce a new chapter, "Navigating the B.C. Employment Maze," in its Autism Manual for BC. The manual is a reference for parents and community professionals that helps guide them through issues related to autism and connect them to  available resources.

Deborah Pugh, ACT's executive director, said about one in 80 children in British Columbia is diagnosed with some form of autism. While many of their families are very proactive about early intervention and getting their kids through the school system, they're often at loose ends when those kids are ready to graduate.

"Helping them find a job gives them hope that their child will be socially connected and have an income," said Pugh. "They're making a contribution and there's tremendous satisfaction in that."

Pugh said while adults with autism can be extremely skilled at specific tasks, they often require additional support to cope with the social and communication aspects of a workplace.

"If we don't give people opportunities to work, they don't show their stuff," said Pugh. "We hope this project will give parents the information they need to understand how employment works for people with autism."

Once the employment project is completed, it could become a template for similar initiatives in other provinces.

The grant awarded to ACT is one of 27 across the country that received a total of $469,221 for projects that range from life skills training to summer day camps to recreation programs.


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