National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

A Message from Leslie Van Dusen, the Principal of Fawkes Academy.

“Dear Fawkes Academy Community,

Tomorrow, on September 30, our school community will pause for a thoughtful day of reflection to mark the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. As a school, we have a great responsibility to guide our learners to a better understanding of Canada: our present and our history.

As the Truth and Reconciliation Report noted in its 94 Calls to Action, First Nations peoples knew that at least 6000 First Nations children had died in government care and requested that these thousands of children be recovered and brought home. This is a sombre realization for many, but a hard fact that First Nations have always known. The 94 Calls to Action can be found here:

Please note that a Survivors Society Crisis Line is open 24 hours, 7 days a week at 1-800-721-0066, and a National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419. It is there for Survivors and Intergenerational Survivors who may just need to talk. It is important to note that residential schools are not ancient history. The last residential school closed in 1996, and the effects of residential schools have resulted in severe personal and intergenerational trauma still felt to this day.

At Fawkes Academy our motto states “Every child is unique, every child is valued, and every child can learn.” We believe Every Child Matters. Please take some time tomorrow to learn a little bit more about the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations. ”

ABA Learning Centre stands with Fawkes Academy in acknowledging the National Truth and Reconciliation day. ABA Learning Centre has donated to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and recommends anyone reading this message to do the same.


Dear ABA Learning Centre families,

Over the past few days, I’m sure that many of you have been watching the unfolding events in the United States capital and are wondering how to speak to your children about this violence. At times of tragedy, unrest, or crisis our children look to us for reassurance, context, and understanding of confusing events. Our teaching teams and partners have been provided information that helps support discussion of current events and the context of systemic racism.

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Fortunately, many of our unique learners will be unaware of last week’s news. However, as none of us are certain where the Jan 6th insurrection stands in a violent chain of events, it is important to prepare ourselves to manage any questions that your child may have.

The article “Talking to Children About Tragedies and Other News Events” notes, “No matter what age or developmental stage the child is, parents can start by asking a child what they’ve already heard. Most children will have heard something, no matter how old they are. After you ask them what they’ve heard, ask what questions they have. Older children, teens, and young adults might ask more questions and may request and benefit more from additional information. But no matter what age the child is, it’s best to keep the dialogue straightforward and direct.”

The same article notes that it is best to avoid graphic details and exposure to media. “In general, it is best to share basic information with children, not graphic details, or unnecessary details about tragic circumstances. Children and adults alike want to be able to understand enough so they know what’s going on. Graphic information and images should be avoided. Keep young children away from repetitive graphic images and sounds that may appear on television, radio, social media, computers, etc. With older children, if you do want them to watch the news, record it ahead of time. That allows you to preview it and evaluate its contents before you sit down with them to watch it. Then, as you watch it with them, you can stop, pause, and have a discussion when you need to.”

When talking to very young children or children with developmental delays or disabilities, it notes, “The reality is that even children as young as 4 years old will hear about major crisis events. It’s best that they hear about it from a parent or caregiver, as opposed to another child or in the media. Even the youngest child needs accurate information, but you don’t want to be too vague. Simply saying, “Something happened in a faraway town and some people got hurt,” doesn’t tell the child enough about what happened. The child may not understand why this is so different from people getting hurt every day and why so much is being said about it. The underlying message for a parent to convey is, “It’s okay if these things bother you. We are here to support each other.”

For some students, a suggested answer as to why this happened is that President Trump lost the election and his turn to be President is over, but he doesn’t want to leave. Most of our students with questions will understand this, and it may lead to a discussion of turn-taking and being a good sport. There are rules and people will help Trump follow the rules.

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For other students it will be helpful to factually contextualize the US events as part of systemic racism. The Confederate flag displayed at the Jan 6 insurrection is a symbol of white supremacy. It is important to note racism when it appears, denounce it, and be aware of how this may affect both yourself and your child. There should be comparative discussion about the disparity between the police/army response to Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters.

Following any tragedy or news events, it is recommended that parents watch for signs that their child may not be coping well. Keep the discussion going and let your child’s consultant know if you require any further Information

Kind Regards,

Dr Elizabeth Athens

Clinical Director

COVID-19 Centre Rules and Procedures

How will the Centre Operate

The health and safety of our clients and staff remain our top priority. Please select the link below to view our current safety procedures updated for September, 2020.

ABA LC Safety Procedures WorkSafeBC Sept 2020

Black Lives Matter Family Letter

Dear Families,

Over the past few weeks, our children may have observed acts of kindness during the coronavirus pandemic. They may have seen hearts in the windows of homes thanking essential service workers for their efforts and noticed how people have demonstrated caring throughout the long weeks of social distancing.

This week, many of our children may have also become aware of the upsetting news surrounding the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. Your child may be aware that the Canadian Prime Minister, BC governmental officials, and global leaders such as Barack Obama are addressing the issues of racism and Black Lives Matter. It is important to acknowledge that racism exists in Canadian society. Canada has its own history of racism and systemic issues continue to persist. It is important to educate ourselves about these issues.

Teachers, schools, and behaviour therapists play an important role in discussing current events and issues in the news. We help provide a place for students to process and respond to big ideas such as racism and, for students who are able, to dive into the underlying causes. ABA Learning Centre and Fawkes Academy understands how critical it is to build a safe and caring community and school for each child. We will continue to instruct and guide children in ways that support diversity and inclusion.

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To support family discussion at home, please note the following resources. I am personally very pleased about the Sesame Street townhall

Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism – A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families

Activity for Parents/Caregivers: Talking about Racism

‘How to Talk to Kids About Race and Racism’ from Parent Toolkit:

Home Team Services Update

ABA Learning Centre is currently evolving following the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in BC. ABA Therapy and Behaviour Consultantion have been deemed an essential service during this period of recommended social distancing.We recognize that as a social sector organization, we provide medically necessary services to vulnerable individuals who may be at greater risk of COVID-19. We care deeply about our clients and families and are passionate about the intervention services we provide to them in their homes. Suspending the essential intervention services we provide can cause unintended consequences for our clients, such as regressions in language and communication, socialization and play, academic, and life skills.

For the best outcomes, we expect our staff and families to make arrangements for sessions to continue in some capacity. We highly encourage families take advantage of our augmented services (e.g., provide telehealth services, develop maintenance and generalization programming, create home-based program materials, move to parent consultation via telehealth) to minimize disruptions (i.e., minimize loss of critical skills). Support for your child could include: parent training for various skills (reading book with parents, play skills with siblings, printing/fine motor skills, following visual schedule, independent work bin, etc.), working on life skills (e.g., washing hands, initiating toilet, etc.) working on challenging behaviours or home routines (rigidity, pinching, hitting, etc.), or social iPad games through Zoom.

Should you be open to continued home services and we have staff prepared to serve you, the following will occur:
a. Families will indicate at the door if anyone in the family is ill or has visited anyone who is ill.
b. Families and staff will measure their temperatures before sessions.
c. If any shows/has any illness symptoms the session is cancelled.
d. Staff, with family support, will leave their shoes and outerwear at the home entryway
e. Staff and client will go or be taken directly to the sink area to wash hands thoroughly.
f. Families will support staff in the cleaning and disinfection of the session area at the start and end of the session.

Following the guidance of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), we will continue to provide our staff and clients regular information about necessary prevention strategies. Some such strategies include proper handwashing, sharing information about symptoms and exposure, maintaining social distance, avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth, and staying isolated at home when feeling ill.

We assure you that ABA Learning Centre’s professional staff are highly qualified and experienced in providing in-person and augmented services; as such, with the safe-guards and augmentations described above, our clients need not experience a service gap nor loss of critical skills.

For those looking at ABA Learning Centre for new services, yes we are still accepting new clients at this time. Please contact us at 604-232-4122 or fill out the service request form here

ABA LC/ GABA CS Picnic 2020!

ABA Learning Centre and FAWKES/GABA CS has organised our yearly family picnic for our kids and their families.

  • Time: 11:00am – 2:00pm
  • Location: Confederation Park (Site # 2) – 250 Willingdon Avenue, Burnaby, BC, V5G 4H7.
  • What to Bring: We ask that each family brings a small dish (appetizers or desserts) that is NUT FREE with a list of ingredients contained in each dish(es) they bring. This is done in an effort to care for those with food allergies and or special dietary restrictions. (We always get a lot of food at this event, so it is not necessary for families to bring a large amount of food). ABA LC and GABA CS will be supplying hot dogs and hamburgers (there will be a veggie option) condiments and other sources of deliciousness. There will be games, bouncy castle, Piñatas and special guests
  • There will also be a 50/50 draw and raffle tickets will be sold for prizes and gift baskets.

Please RSVP to Karl McGloughlin @ (604-232-4122) and let him know how many of you and your loved ones will be attending.!

We are looking for parent volunteers for the event and ask you to please spread the word to any other organizations and individuals you can think of for donations.


We are pleased to announce that we have one  Behaviour Consultants(BCBA) who are certified ESDM therapists.

Sara Shababi Shad – Accepting new clients in White Rock and South Surrey.

Please view her profiles here

The Early Start Denver Model is an evidence-based, comprehensive, play-based approach to teaching toddlers and preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ESDM uses play to increase children’s interest in activities and people and improves their language and communication skills and self-expression. The focus is on communication, relationship skills and play.

The ESDM curriculum defines the skills to be taught at any given time and indicates a set of teaching procedures used to deliver this content. The early intervention program integrates a relationship-focused developmental model with the well-validated teaching practices of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). The core features include:

  • Naturalistic applied behavioral analytic strategies
  • Sensitive to normal developmental sequence
  • Deep parental involvement
  • Focus on interpersonal exchange and positive affect
  • Shared engagement with joint activities
  • Language and communication taught inside a positive, affect-based relationship.

ESDM certified therapists complete a training workshop and then submit videotapes showing them using ESDM techniques in therapy sessions. Certification requires that the therapist demonstrates the ability to implement ESDM techniques reliably and according to high standards set by leading ESDM therapists. This ensures that a certified professional has the knowledge and skills to successfully use the teaching strategies with children with autism




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