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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the answers to your most-asked questions!

Learn all about AutismBC, who we are, and what we do.  Still have questions? Ask AutismBC via our Contact Page

About Autism

What is autism?

Autism is a lifelong neurodevelopmental difference that impacts all aspects of a person’s life. See our full definition here.

What is the prevalence of autism in BC?

1 in 30 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years old receive an autism diagnosis in BC.

There are approximately 70,000 autistic people in BC – 22,500 under the age of 19 and 50,000+ adults. 

*Ministry of Children and Family Development, December 2023

Which specialists can offer an autism assessment? What do they evaluate?

A paediatrician, psychiatrist, or registered psychologist completes an assessment by examining:

  • Medical history  
  • Developmental history 
  • Behaviour 
  • Social interactions  
  • Communication strategies 

During a child assessment, the specialist will interact the child and observe how they complete a structured play-based assessment and cognitive skill tests. The specialist will also ask the parents or guardians questions about the child’s behaviour and development. 

An adult assessment is a similar process. Instead of a play-based activity, the assessment may take the form of a conversation. Specialists vary on whether or not they require input from childhood guardians, people in your adult life, or other secondary sources. After the assessment, you will meet with the specialist and receive a written report.

For more info on autism assessments in BC, explore our assessment resources.

How long is the wait for an autism assessment in BC?
Publicly Funded Assessments (Age 0-18) 

Wait times for publicly-funded assessments can be long. The average public wait time for a child autism assessment in BC, after a referral from a doctor or qualified practitioner, is approximately 80.6 weeks (18.5 months). 

Wait times may vary across the province, we recommend connecting directly with your BCAAN & CDBC regional coordinators for a clearer estimate of the wait time in your area.

Private Autism Assessment (All Ages) 

Pursuing an autism assessment through a private clinician is another option, but you should be aware that private assessments do have a cost associated with them. 

Private Autism Assessments can be done for both children and adults at a cost of $3500–$6000 in a variety of locations—these locations each have private waitlists anywhere between 4–12 months. 

There is no publicly funded assessment process for people 19 or over in BC. For other options, read our Adult Assessment blog.

About AutismBC

What does AutismBC do?

AutismBC empowers the autism community with credible information and vetted resources to understand pathways to community supports. We use our platform to highlight, celebrate, and amplify autistic voices and the voices of our members to raise acceptance of autism while promoting social inclusion throughout the province. 

How can I help?

There are lots of ways you can help: 

Donate and Fundraise 

As a small non-profit, we need donations to keep doing the work that we do. There are many ways you can donate and raise money to help autistic people and their families in BC. Check out the Ways to Give and Fundraise pages for more information. 

Volunteer 

We sometimes need help with campaigns and at special events. Please send us a note via our contact form if you’re interested to hear from us when these opportunities arise. 

Join the Team 

Check out our careers page to see if we have any job openings.  

Share your Story 

“Sharing my story could help others.” 

We are always looking to share the stories, experiences, and voices of our community. You can read some of these here. 

 

Ready to share yours? Contact us to get started. 

What makes AutismBC unique?

AutismBC is a small, non-profit and registered charity. A majority of our staff and leadership team are neurodivergent and bring unique lived experience to their work. As a provincial leader, our vision is a British Columbia where all autistic people are accepted, included, and supported. 

AutismBC provides accessible support autistic people, their families, and their support networks. We believe credible information and resources should be readily available for everyone in BC. By directly connecting people to service options, we reduce the negative referral loop to access services. We help our members to make informed decisions for the support needs of themselves and their loved ones. 

What approach do you take when recommending services and therapies?

AutismBC takes a nonprescriptive approach to referrals for services or therapies. We know that every autistic person is unique and has specific support needs that fluctuate throughout their life. Therefore, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all recommendation when it comes to services. Effective services focus on the individuals needs.

Does AutismBC oversee Autism Funding?

No. Provincial individual autism funding is overseen by the Autism Funding Unit branch of Ministry of Children and Family Development. Learn more here.

Does AutismBC offer advocacy support?

The AutismBC staff team does not provide 1:1 advocacy support. We can offer resources on how to develop your own advocacy skills, as well as highlight advocacy-focused organizations across B.C. If you have a question concerning advocacy, please contact your regional coordinator.

As an organization, we do focus on focus on provincial advocacy and uplifting the voices and needs of our membership for support in these areas: 

  • Education 
  • Healthcare 
  • Poverty reduction 
  • Disability rights 
  • Human rights 
Can you promote my event, workshop, business, etc. to your members?

We don’t promote third-party events, workshops, or businesses on our social media or website.  

However, our regional coordinators highlight and summarize locally-relevant events and news in monthly newsletters. Share your event with us through our contact form and select the applicable region in the dropdown menu.

Can I become an AutismBC Community Member or Society Member? What are the benefits?

Yes! By becoming a Community Member of AutismBC, you gain access to valuable programs, services, supports, and inclusive events! AutismBC Society Members have all the same benefits as Community Members and a direct hand in shaping the organization’s direction.  

For more information and to register, visit our membership page. 

What is the history of AutismBC?

In 1975, AutismBC was founded and became a charitable organization under the name Pacific Association for Autistic Children. Just three years later, the word ‘children’ was replaced by ‘citizens’ in our name. 

After opening branches across the province in the late 1980s, we changed our name to Autism Society of British Columbia. This new name was meant to demonstrate our commitment to helping autistic individuals and their families across the entire province. 

In 2017, we moved into the recently built Pacific Autism Family Network building in Richmond. We also adopted the shortform name AutismBC.

In 2022, we transitioned to a fully remote workspace with no physical address. Our team works remotely throughout the province to better serve all of BC.

What are AutismBC’s professional affiliations?
  • Founding member of the Provincial and Territorial Council of Autism Canada (formerly Autism Society Canada and Autism Canada Foundation)
  • Member in good standing of the Autism Alliance of Canada
  • Member in good standing of InclusionBC
  • Provincial affiliate of Autism Canada
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