Early Bird!

Vancouver, BC – February 17 & 18, 2017



Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel
7571 Westminster Highway, Richmond, BC V6X 1A3

Learn practical skills that can be immediately implemented into existing curriculum and training programs, at home or in school!

Friday, February 17

Dr. Andrew McDonnell

Non-Aversive Strategies to Assist Individuals with Autism and Challenging Behaviours

Saturday, February 18

Kerry Mataya

Problem Solving: A Step-by-Step Process for Success

Conference Description

Friday, February 17

Dr. Andrew McDonnell

Non-Aversive Strategies to Assist Individuals with Autism and Challenging Behaviours

Working with individuals who have challenging behaviours can be stressful and can produce a
great deal of anxiety for both the educator/caregiver/support person and the individual.
Although many advances have been made in supporting people with autism, the management
of behaviours is not as well understood.

This presentation will focus on how to manage behaviours using the Low Arousal Approach.

What is the Low Arousal Approach to behaviour?

  • Practical strategies to help educators/caregivers/support workers support “highly agitated” and
    stressed individuals.
  • Verbal and nonverbal strategies to de-escalate crisis situations.
  • The approach involves ‘reflective practice’ – that is, “What is my own contribution
    to the situation?”

Low Arousal Approaches include:

  • Interaction, diffusion and distraction strategies
  • Coping with challenging behaviours including debriefing
  • The why’s and how’s
  • Managing vs. changing behaviours
  • Physical avoidance skills and physical intervention strategies

Dr. Andrew McDonnell is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of Studio3 Training Systems located in Warwickshire, UK. He has a special interest in arousal mechanisms in people with autism and the management of severe challenging behaviours. Other areas of interest are stress management, person centred approaches to behaviour management, arousal mechanisms and their application to human behaviour, and sensory perceptual processing differences. Andrew’s doctoral thesis evaluated the impact of staff training in low arousal approaches and has been the subject of his book Managing Aggressive Behaviour in Care Settings: Understanding and Applying Low Arousal Approaches. The low arousal approach was first developed by Dr. McDonnell. He has lectured on this subject in Europe, Africa and Asia.

Saturday, February 18

Kerry Mataya

Problem Solving: A Step-by-Step Process for Success

Problem solving is a skill that we all need, and one that many of us take for granted. Most of us do not even realize that we are scanning our surroundings, considering all of our options, or moving on to the Plan B if Plan A did not work. If you work with a high functioning individual with ASD, this workshop is for you.

This presentation will offer ideas to help teachers, counselors, service providers, and parents identify the need for increased collaboration and teamwork to provide a step-by-step framework for the development of problem solving skills across all contexts, including home, school, and community. Furthermore this presentation will include topics such as how to correctly identify the root cause of outward behavior and how to understand the role of problem solving in the development of social skills and the prevention of bullying and meltdowns. Because executive functioning skills are involved in development of problem solving skills, goals for development in this area will be discussed as well.

Kerry Mataya is the creator and visionary behind Bridgeway Services providing intervention based services including school consultations, summer camps, after-school social groups, and individualized programming for high functioning individuals with ASD. With a Master’s in Education with emphasis in Autism and Asperger Syndrome from the University of Kansas, Mrs. Mataya holds many contracts with school systems for individualized teaching, social skills programming, executive functioning skill development, behavior support, and academic support. Most recently, Mrs. Mataya authored Successful Problem-Solving for High-Functioning Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and is currently working on additional projects that systemize learning for students with ASD. Mrs. Mataya has presented at numerous conferences and workshops around the United States. She is also involved with Asperger Connection, a small non-profit organization that provides funding to improve the quality of life for high functioning individuals with ASD.

Tentative Daily Schedule

Friday, February 17

Registration 7:30 am – 8:45 am
Opening Remarks 8:45 am – 9:00 am
Andrew McDonnell
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Refreshment Break 10:30 am – 10:45 am
Andrew McDonnell 10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Lunch on Own 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Andrew McDonnell 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm
Refreshment Break 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Andrew McDonnell 2:45 pm – 4:00 pm

Saturday, February 18

Registration 8:00 am – 8:45 am
Opening Remarks 8:45 am – 9:00 am
Kerry Mataya
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Refreshment Break 10:30 am – 10:45 am
Kerry Mataya 10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Lunch on Own 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Kerry Mataya 1:15 pm – 2:30 pm
Refreshment Break 2:30 pm – 2:45 pm
Kerry Mataya 2:45 pm – 4:00 pm




Professional Rates

BEFORE February 3, 2017
AFTER February 3, 2017
2 Days
$315.00 + $15.75 GST = $330.75 $345.00 + $17.25 GST = $362.25
1 Day Only $240.00 + $12.00 GST = $252 $270.00 + $13.50 GST = $283.50

Parent/Para-Professional Rates

BEFORE February 3, 2017 AFTER February 3, 2017
2 Days $275.00 + $13.75 GST = $288.75 $305.00 + $15.25 GST = $320.25
1 Day Only
$175.00 + $8.75 GST = $183.75 $205.00 + $10.25 GST = $215.25

Registration Includes

Sessions, session materials, refreshment breaks. If you do not receive a confirmation seven business days prior to the conference please contact Autism Awareness Centre. Registrations received after the deadline may not be sent a confirmation before the conference.

Autism Funding Unit (AFU)

This conference is eligible for parents to apply for autism funding. Parents need to send a request to pay to Autism Funding Unit to attend the conference. Once you have attended the conference, Autism Awareness Centre will bill AFU. Be sure not to exceed your 20% cap per funding year that includes equipment, training, travel, or supplies including books. Please see the Parent Handbook for more information. If you have any further questions, you can contact the AFU at mcf.autismfundingunit@gov.bc.ca or call 1-877-777-3530. If you need to cancel your registration, this must be done 7 days prior to the conference taking place. The 7 day cancellation notice only applies to those receiving funding from AFU.

General Information

Conference Location

Marriott Vancouver Airport Hotel
7571 Westminster Highway
Richmond, BC V6X 1A3

Reservations: 1-877-323-8888
Tel: (604) 232-2802
Fax: (604) 232-2817

1 bedroom suite room rate per night plus applicable taxes: $142
Hotel room rates are subject to applicable state and local taxes (currently 16.15%) in effect at the time of check-out.

Delegates are responsible for booking and paying for their own accommodation. Individual reservations can be made by contacting the hotel reservations department directly. Callers must mention the group name Autism Awareness Centre Conference to ensure they receive the appropriate rate and are included in the guest room block. Reservations must be made by January 27, 2017 in order to receive the conference rate.

Click to book a room with Autism Awareness Centre’s group rate. 

Certificates of Completion

Delegates will receive a certificate of course completion for 6 hours of training for each day of the conference.

Dress Code

Dress is business casual. Delegates are reminded that the room may be chilly at times and are encouraged to wear a sweater.

Meals, Refreshment Breaks

Delegates are on their own for lunch. Refreshment breaks will be served in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be in writing and received prior to February 10, 2017. There will be a $50 administration fee applied to all cancellations until February 10, 2017.  No refunds will be issued after February 10, 2017.


Parking is available on site, standard parking charge is $14.95 for overnight parking, plus taxes.


The Autism Awareness Centre Bookstore will be open throughout the conference.



Download Vancouver Conference Flyer »


Download Vancouver Conference Brochure »

Autism Awareness Centre Inc.

To Register by Phone or Email
Or For Books and Resources:

Maureen Bennie:

Phone: 403-640-2710
Toll Free: 1-866-724-2224

To Display a Product or Service at an AACI Event

Maureen Bennie:

Phone: 403-640-2710

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2016 Catalogue

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