PALS Autism Society Newsletter
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Summer Fun at PALS
-By Andrea Kasunic
On this cold, crisp afternoon, let’s take a moment to reflect back on the sunnier days of summer 2015! Year-round educational programming is one of the key features of PALS Autism School, as consistency is essential for the students to maintain skills they learned throughout the year. That being said, we still want the students to have the same fun summer experiences as other kids their ages, and thanks to the generous support of the Diamond Foundation, we were able to provide a well-balanced summer program containing maintenance academics and a wide variety of play-based activities.
During July and August, students continued to receive group academic instruction and 1:1 intensive teaching in the mornings, but the focus was on reviewing previously mastered targets. PALS was able to increase the support of occupational therapist, Diane Gerrard, and she attended the school once per week, instead of biweekly, completing important biannual assessments of each student’s OT goals.
Andrea Hrysko, art therapist, returned to provide art therapy to the students each Monday afternoon. Sessions consisted of developmentally appropriate art making directives and time periods suited to the attention span of each student. Everyone created and decorated individual noise shakers to be used in music therapy with our lively and energetic music therapist, Evret Tucker. Also on Monday afternoons, classroom teacher, Henry, tested the students’ speed, strength, and agility during “Olympics” class.
On Tuesday afternoons, assistant behaviour analyst, Yvonne, once again led the students on community outings to local shops such as Donald’s Market, Starbucks, Dollar Tree, and McDonalds! Students practiced street safety skills and exercised making purchases, specifically, the ingredients necessary for cooking class. Afterwards, head educational instructor, Ray, helped the students make delicious and nutritious snacks such as fruit wraps, grilled cheese sandwiches, tacos, and fruit caterpillars!
Each Wednesday, the students, staff and volunteers boarded a big yellow bus and headed out for a full day of fun in the lower mainland. Field trips this year included watching the movie “Inside Out”, bowling at The Zone, visiting the Vancouver Aquarium and Science World, swimming outside at Second Beach Pool, riding the attractions at Playland, hiking the Baden Powel trail in Deep Cove, sliding down the slides at Splashdown, and rollerblading at the Trout Lake rink. The staff found it very rewarding to support the students in trying new things, especially during rollerblading as we were able to successfully get each and every student up on their feet, rolling laps around the rink!

On Thursdays, classroom teacher, Jeremy, provided opportunities for the students to get hands-on in science class, making predictions and carrying out experiments such as “Will it sink or float?” Returning drama instructor, Veronica Bryan, worked with the students weekly to produce a rendition of Little Red Riding Hood that was performed in front of a full-house on the last day of school. In Scrapbooking Class, head educational instructor, Kanako, encouraged students to hold onto memories as well as collect artifacts from every activity so they could be displayed in a meaningful way on weekly scrapbook pages, resulting in a beautiful, personal keepsake for each student to have.
Finally, it wouldn’t have been summer without swimming lessons at Templeton Pool, and every Friday PALS students were taught by certified swimming instructors how to float like starfish and jump off the diving board into the deep-end. The walk from the school to the pool, as well as the change rooms, gave the students many opportunities to generalize all of the life skills they work on year round!
Thank you again to the Diamond Foundation for supporting PALS Summer Program
Hello, my name is Stephanie Mortimer-Lamb and I work with Vancouver Coastal Health as a Public Health Nurse in the School Program.

If you have not already done so, we recommend providing PALS with a copy of your child’s Immunization Records.

Please also access for information about Immunization Schedules.
If you have any questions or require further assistance, please contact me at:
Evergreen Community Health Centre         
3425 Crowley Drive
Vancouver, BC
604-872-2511 (#3307)
-By Shannon Muir (SLP)
To help your child use more eye contact, if you have something that is interesting to your child, hold it beside your eyes (when it is practical). This helps to draw your child’s attention to your eyes and shows him/her that cool stuff happens when I look there. This might be some kind of food, a toy, a book, or even your hands. Eye zone = fun zone!
-By Andrea Kasunic
A ‘reward’ may not always be a reinforcer. A reinforcer is something that happens after a behaviour which results in an increase in that behaviour. If you give your child a cookie every night as a reward for eating vegetables, but eating vegetables continues to be a struggle, perhaps the cookie is not a reinforcer? Give your child varying choices when setting a ‘reward’ so he can pick the one that is most motivating to him! And if you don’t see a change in the behaviour after a reasonable amount of time, remember to ask yourself: Is the reward a reinforcer?
Podcast Alert
-By Andrea Kasunic
This summer I was interviewed by Talie B. of, a bi-weekly podcast heard in over 87 countries. Talie has made it her mission is to empower, inform, and educate the local community, and beyond, about autism resources here in British Columbia. In our discussion, Talie and I covered what ABA is, what PALS is and how to attend, the difference between PALS and the public school system, who is involved and their responsibilities, tuition and funding, and the passion of the staff! Please share this link with anyone who may be interested in learning more about PALS or to those who are unable to travel to the school for a tour.

Listen here:
Adult Program Update
-By Karin Terado
Well it’s hard to believe that another summer has ended – those lovely sunny days and warm weather flew by in a flurry of field trips, work, lessons and activities!  Of course we made time for afternoons at Kits Pool, soccer games in the park, and fun times with friends, which were enjoyed by all of us, but it is good to turn towards the coming year and all the opportunities and learning that lies ahead!  To start things off, I would like to introduce our newest two students, Jamie and Chris, to you.  These two young men joined the program this term and are daily showing progress in learning new schedules, becoming more familiar with their teachers and instructors and making new friends. I’m confident they will have a wonderful first term and we look forward to discovering the unique qualities that each will contribute to the program.  Along with our newest students, we have several new instructors this term, Ally and Tommy (they have included very brief bios that you will find included in this newsletter), who have already proven to be great additions to the staff team and I look forward to working with them in the year ahead. 
Although we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming new students and staff, we have also said good-bye to some very important people.  Danielle Kahut, a student of both PALS school and adult program, has moved with her family to Slave Lake, Alberta where she has taken on several paid work opportunities and where she will be moving into shared housing in the near future.  Danielle has been a wonderful ambassador for PALS throughout the years she spent with us, and I am proud of her and the independent young woman she has become.  I know all of us wish her and her family all the best in the future and we look forward to hearing great reports coming out of Slave Lake – they are a lucky community.
Along with Danielle, we have said good-bye to Rachael Colangelo who worked her last day on August 21st.  Rachael has been with the adult program, almost since the beginning, and was a key member of the staff and my Designate Head for almost 5 years.   A talented, creative and highly skilled teacher, a supportive and effective mentor to the staff, an exemplary role model to the students and good friend, we will miss her greatly but know that her imprint is on the program.  We wish her and her husband well as they await the birth of their first child and in their anticipated move to Ontario to join family.  Along with Rachael we have said a temporary good-bye to Nicky Waring.  Nicky and Martin have recently welcomed their beautiful baby daughter, Izarra into the world!  We wish this young family also all the best as they begin this wonderful adventure together and look forward to Nicky’s return in the early summer of 2016. 
In closing this first article of the new year, I would like to thank all of our students and their families for their on-going support of the program and its staff, the staff for their dedication and joy in their work, our Board of Directors for their leadership and vision and all of you, our supporters, who contribute so much to such an important cause.  Here’s to another successful year!
Shopping at Save-On-Foods
-By Karl and Bethany

Last week we went shopping at Save-On Foods for groceries for our pizza recipe.  Last summer we shopped for this same recipe, and after lots of hard work, we were shopping for this recipe all by ourselves while our instructor stayed at pals.  We shopped for this same recipe a year later and we did not need any help finding the items!  We ordered ham from the deli and asked a save on worker to help us find an item that was out of stock.  Our instructor did not need to come with us and waited at the front! We are very proud at ourselves for being independent shoppers and being able to shop for this recipe a year later!
Adult Program Staff Bio's
Alley Gordon

Hi there, I’m Ally Gordon. I started working at PALS in November 2014. I’m Australian with a nursing background and feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to be working with an amazing team of colleagues that have inspired me from day one. The part of my day that really makes me smile though is the delightful students with whom I work. They inspire me both personally and professionally as they strive to accomplish the goals and milestones in their community and within our program at PALS.
Thomas Ducey

My name is Thomas Ducey but everybody calls me Tommy. I am originally from Ireland but moved to Vancouver at the beginning of summer 2015. I joined the PALS organization in early July and have already been fortunate enough to participate in many of the diverse activities the program offers .My experience and passion has always been working with people who face challenges in education, community integration, independent living and employment.  Watching them work every day to accomplish their goals has been inspiring and being able to be a part of that has been an amazing experience to date.
PALS would like to take this opportunity to thank the many people and organizations who generously donated to the school and adult program in July, August and September; Ames Family Foundation, Canucks for Kids Fund, Diamond Foundation, Gavan and Laura Eddy, Hamid and Katy Harandi, Sahar Kanani, Amanda Goodman Lee and Jeff Lee, Raymond Lee, Natalie Olgilvy, TELUS (Charitable Giving Program), The Sutton Place Hotel  and Sherry Yano. This support allows us to continue delivering exceptional academic, behavioural, and life skills programming to students and young adults with autism spectrum disorders.
A special note of thanks to the friends and families of Jeremy Cook for donations made in memory of Jeremy; Beverly Cook, Darrel Cook,  Kimberley Cummings, Duncan Family (Donald, Katharine, John and Andrew), Ann Fownes, Marjorie Horsell, Cherie Matheson, Alan McNabb, Gordon Reimer, Gailene Roxburghand the Whittle Family (John, Barbara and daughters).
School Program
Field Trip - Pumpkin Patch
Wednesday, October 28th

Behaviour Analysis Workshop -
no afterschool care
Thursday, October 29th (3:00 - 6:00)

Remembrance Day - School Closed
Monday,  November 11th

Adult Program
Remembrance Day - School Closed
Monday,  November 11th

Copyright © 2015 PALS Autism Society, All rights reserved.

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