April 6, 2009: Families living with autism to benefit from new degree program offered at Capilano University

      Monday, April 6, 2009
      Contact: Shelley Kean at 604.983.7596

      (NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C.)—Individuals and families living with autism and related developmental disorders, such as Asperger’s Syndrome and anorexia, will benefit from the new bachelor of arts degree in applied behavioural analysis – autism (ABA-A) that will be offered at Capilano University in September 2009.

      This will be the first baccalaureate degree of this type offered in Western Canada. The ABA-A program will be accepting 20 students per year who have an associate of arts degree with a concentration in psychology.

      “We are extremely grateful to the Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development for its recognition of the need for a degree in this area,” said Dr. Jackie Snodgrass, Capilano University’s vice president of education, academic and arts programs. “We would also like to acknowledge the financial support received from the Minerva Foundation, generously sponsored by the John Gordon Autism Foundation, to provide bursaries for students in the ABA-A program."

      Additional support will come from the Capilano University Foundation, which has received $16,000 in unrestricted funds for allocation to ABA-A students. The Foundation is actively seeking additional funding to offset costs for students through program support and/or bursaries directly to students.

      Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is now the most common childhood developmental or neurological disorder in the country, affecting more than 5,000 children and youth in B.C. alone. Capilano’s program will include a practical component so that families can count on a steady pool of motivated students to work with their children.

      The degree program was conceived by Capilano University psychology faculty members Dr. Cara Zaskow and Dr. Ellen Domm, who started working on the proposal in the spring of 2006.

      “Cara and Ellen deserve a lot of credit for their degree proposal, which has the potential to have a hugely positive impact on families living with children with developmental disabilities,” Snodgrass said. “I’m extremely proud of our faculty who identified a need and put in the hard work to develop a program to meet that need.”

      Students will find employment through the growing number of agencies providing ABA services to families with autistic children. Graduates may also work with schools or in private practice with board certified behavior analysts as assistant consultants and lead therapists.

      For more information, please contact Dr. Ellen Domm at 604.986.1911, local 2522 or e-mail edomm@capilanou.ca, or call Dr. Cara Zaskow at 604.986.1911, local 2464 or e-mail czaskow@capilanou.ca