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BC Autism Assessment Network

Autism Spectrum Disorder, often referred to as autism, is a neurobiological disorder that prevents people from understanding what they see, hear or sense.
Assessment

Autism Spectrum Disorder affects reasoning, social interaction and communication. It can affect the functioning and development of the brain and is usually evident before a child turns three years old. It is a spectrum disorder, which means there is a wide variation in how it affects children.

Assessment programs

Complex Developmental Behavioural Conditions

The Complex Developmental Behavioural Conditions (CDBC) program's diagnostic assessment services are intended for children and youth who have significant difficulties in multiple areas of function including those with known or suspected history of exposures to substances with neurodevelopmental effects. Referral from pediatricians or child psychiatrists is required (with exceptions based on access). 

BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN) 

The BC Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN) provides diagnostic assessments for those with suspected autism spectrum disorder and accepts referrals from all physicians.

BCAAN assesses and diagnoses children who may have autism. Our goal is to provide timely assessment and diagnosis within reasonable distance of the child's home.  

BCAAN includes specialists and health care professionals throughout BC. Assessment services are provided by each of the five geographic health authorities. BCAAN ensures the standards and guidelines set by the Ministry of Health are met, and reports to the Ministry on behalf of its health authority partners.

BCAAN provides diagnostic assessments for children and youth (0 to 19) who have been referred for a question of an autism spectrum disorder. BCAAN accepts referrals from all physicians; specialists and non-specialists. 

March 31, 2016


Wait Times for Autism Assessments

  • The overall wait time in BC is approximately 29 weeks
  • 80% of children receive an Autism assessment within 27 weeks of their date of referral
  • Wait times may vary across the province, however, we are working to make sure wait times are similar throughout the province

Find Out Wait Times

  • Want to know more about wait times in your area or your child's approximate wait time? Contact the Regional Coordinator in your Health Authority
 
 

How do I have my child assessed for autism?

The first step to getting your child assessed for autism is to make an appointment with your family doctor. From there your doctor can refer you to a professional who is an expert in diagnosing ASD, and or arrange other assessments that your child may need. Your family doctor may refer you to an assessment program, based on the health authority responsible for health services in the area where you live (see Assessment programs).

Private assessments are also accepted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (see Diagnosis Forms).

BCAAN & CDBC Regional coordinators

Interior Health Region
Regional Coordinator
#309-1664 Richter Street
Kelowna, BC, V1Y 8N3

Tel: 250-763-4122
Fax:250-712-0732
BCAAN/CDBC Interior Health Referral Form
Island Health Region
Regional Coordinator
Queen Alexandra Centre for Children's Health
2400 Arbutus Road
Victoria, BC, V8N 1V7

Tel:250-519-5390
Fax:250-519-6931
BCAAN/CDBC Island Health Referral Form
Northern Health Region
Regional Coordinator
1444 Edmonton Street
Prince George, BC, V2M 6W5

Tel:250-565-5827
Fax:250-565-5702
BCAAN/CDBC Northern Health Referral Form
Vancouver Coastal & Fraser Regions
Triage Office
Sunny Hill Health Centre
3644 Slocan Street
Vancouver, BC, V5M 3E8

Tel:604-453-8320
Fax:604-453-8305
BCAAN/CDBC Vancouver Coastal & Fraser Referral Form
Provincial Autism Resource Centre (PARC) is located at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and receives complex, tertiary level referrals via regional service teams.

Contact PARC:

3644 Slocan Street
Vancouver, BC  V5M 3E8
Phone: 604-453-8394
Tertiary Referral Team for CDBC is located at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children and receives complex tertiary level referrals via regional service teams.

Contact SHHC CDBC:

3644 Slocan Street
Vancouver, BC, V5M 3E8
Phone: 604-453-8381


Diagnosis forms

Confirmation of previous diagnosis form

Families may have this form completed by a qualified specialist to confirm an existing diagnosis of ASD diagnosed prior to 2004. The completed and signed form may be taken to the MCFD office to initiate funding. Families who have received a diagnosis in another province or territory in Canada may also use the confirmation of prior diagnosis form. Confirmation of previous diagnosis form (pdf)

Non-BCAAN (private) diagnosis form

Families do have the option to obtain an assessment outside of the BC Autism Assessment Network. However, assessments outside of BCAAN must adhere to the same standards and guidelines to be eligible for funding from the Ministry. Registered psychologists, paediatricians, and psychiatrists may provide private assessments. The following form has been developed to assist families who have accessed a Privately acquired or NON BCAAN assessments. The form should be completed by the qualified specialist. Non-BCAAN (Private) Diagno​sis form

FAQs

Many families have questions about autism and about how we do assessments. This page answers some of the questions we hear most often from families. We will be available to help answer any other questions you may have. 

What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism affects how a person socializes with others. It also affects how a person acts, communicates and thinks about things. Because there is a wide variation in how autism takes form, these different forms of autism are sometimes generally referred to as "Autism Spectrum Disorders".

Right now, nobody knows exactly what causes ASD. What we do know is that the way the brain develops and a person's genes are likely involved.

People who have ASD do not all act the same. The one thing that every person with ASD has in common is that they have difficulty understanding how to socialize with others.

We are usually able to see some of the effects of ASD on a child by the age of three. Children do not outgrow ASD. They generally have a life-long developmental disability. 

What is the British Columbia Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN)?

BCAAN is the name of the program operated by the Provincial Health Services Authority and other regional Health Authorities across BC. BCAAN is a network of clinicians who assess and diagnose children and youth who may have ASD. A clinician is a person with special skills and training, like a psychologist, psychiatrist or pediatrician (children's doctor). All the clinicians that are part of BCAAN use the same guidelines and standards to decide whether a child or youth has ASD.

How can I get my child assessed for autism?

The first step is to make an appointment with your family doctor. Once you do that, your doctor will either refer you to a specialist, or may refer you to a professional who is an expert in diagnosing ASD. Your doctor will think about the best place for the assessment to be done, depending on where you live.

If your child is referred to a specialist, it is helpful to include any past reports along with the referral letter. The specialist might want to see reports like:

  • Physician consults
  • Hearing assessments
  • Reports from your child's infant development program or child development centre
  • Psychological or psycho-educational reports
  • Speech and language reports
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy

Ask your doctor if you do not know if your child has these reports done.

Do I have to have my child assessed by a BCAAN clinician?

Clinicians who are not part of BCAAN can also assess and diagnose children but they have to use the same guidelines as BCAAN clinicians in order for you to receive funding from MCFD. If you want your child assessed by a clinician who is not part of BCAAN, talk to your doctor.

You may want to contact the Autism Society of BC (604-434-0880) for a list of names of professionals who can privately assess your child.

Do I have to go to Sunny Hill for an assessment if I want MCFD funding?

No - you can go someplace other than Sunny Hill, but the person who assesses your child must follow the same rules that BCAAN follows. Those rules are set by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). The rules are different for children under age six than they are for children over age six.

The MCFD has different funding, depending on the age of your child.

Early Intensive Intervention (EII) funding is for children under six years of age. Extended Autism Intervention (EAI) funds are for children six and over. EII and EAI have different funding requirements. Details are available at http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/. or contact your local MCFD office. The number is in the Blue Pages of your phone book.

Do all BCAAN clinicians follow the same standards?

Yes. All the clinicians in BCAAN must follow the same standards. These standards have been tested and have been shown to work in studies.

The standards are called "Standards and Guidelines for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia, 2003."

How long will I wait for an assessment?

Unfortunately, there is a wait list for BCAAN assessments. We will do everything we can to see your child as soon as possible. 

What can I do while I am waiting?

We know that waiting is difficult. If you run into difficulties while you are waiting, contact your doctor for help. The BC Autism Society also has a support network.

BCAAN may mail you some questionnaires and forms before your assessment. Some of the forms are for your child's preschool or school to fill in, with your permission. You should try to fill out these questionnaires and send them to us before your child's first appointment so that we are better prepared.

Can I get help for my child during the waiting period?

It is important to use the early intervention services in your community while you are waiting. You can access these services through your local community health office. You do not need a doctor's referral to use these services. Services include:

  • Infant Development Program (IDP)
  • Child Development Centres
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Supported Child Care (SCC)

Where do I get more information about these services?

Visit the MCFD website:

Who do I call during the waiting period?

If you have any concerns about your child, please call your family doctor or specialist.

If you would like information about your child's referral and wait list status, contact the health authority where you live

Can I get service in a language other than English?

Yes. Although English is most often spoken in the clinics, we can get an interpreter to come to your appointments. You should let us know if you need an interpreter when we give you an appointment.

Are all the appointments on the same day?

It depends on your child's needs and where you live.

Who should come to the appointments?

You know your child best. At least one parent or guardian needs to be at the assessments to provide information and to support your child. You can bring along another family member or caregiver for support if you wish. 

When and how am I told about the results of my child's assessment?

In most cases, we will talk with you about the results of your child's assessments after they are all finished. Once the assessments are done, your child's team will meet to talk about what they found out, and decide on a diagnosis and the best way to provide treatment. After they meet, they will contact you to set up a time to talk about the results.

Can my community team be involved?

Yes, if you wish. It can be useful for the clinicians to talk to the people in your community who will be providing ongoing treatment and care to your child. These meetings, called community conferences, are arranged after the family conference. You decide who attends this meeting.

When do I get a written report?

You will get a written summary about your child's diagnosis at the family conference. The final reports may take up to 4-6 weeks to finish.

What happens if my child is not diagnosed with autism?

BCAAN provides assessments and recommendations for all children and youth we see, regardless of the final diagnosis. If a child is not diagnosed with autism, he or she may still need help. We will make specific recommendations, and will help you to get the services your child needs, including developmental, mental health, education, and social supports, among others.

How do I make a complaint if I am unhappy with the service or with a specific person?

Your suggestions, comments and complaints help us to improve our services. We all benefit from listening to one another. Whether it is to answer a question, solve a problem or to share a success story, it is important that we hear from you.

Just as much as we want to hear about good experiences that you have had with our services, we also want you to tell us when you have a problem so we can resolve it. Please get in touch with us in person, by telephone, mail, fax or email.

If you have a complaint, please contact your regional coordionator (see Regional coordinators at the bottom of the Assessment tab). 

FAQs

Many families have questions about autism and about how we do assessments. This page answers some of the questions we hear most often from families. We will be available to help answer any other questions you may have. 

What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Autism affects how a person socializes with others. It also affects how a person acts, communicates and thinks about things. Because there is a wide variation in how autism takes form, these different forms of autism are sometimes generally referred to as "Autism Spectrum Disorders".

Right now, nobody knows exactly what causes ASD. What we do know is that the way the brain develops and a person's genes are likely involved.

People who have ASD do not all act the same. The one thing that every person with ASD has in common is that they have difficulty understanding how to socialize with others.

We are usually able to see some of the effects of ASD on a child by the age of three. Children do not outgrow ASD. They generally have a life-long developmental disability. 

What is the British Columbia Autism Assessment Network (BCAAN)?

BCAAN is the name of the program operated by the Provincial Health Services Authority and other regional Health Authorities across BC. BCAAN is a network of clinicians who assess and diagnose children and youth who may have ASD. A clinician is a person with special skills and training, like a psychologist, psychiatrist or pediatrician (children's doctor). All the clinicians that are part of BCAAN use the same guidelines and standards to decide whether a child or youth has ASD.

How can I get my child assessed for autism?

The first step is to make an appointment with your family doctor. Once you do that, your doctor will either refer you to a specialist, or may refer you to a professional who is an expert in diagnosing ASD. Your doctor will think about the best place for the assessment to be done, depending on where you live.

If your child is referred to a specialist, it is helpful to include any past reports along with the referral letter. The specialist might want to see reports like:

  • Physician consults
  • Hearing assessments
  • Reports from your child's infant development program or child development centre
  • Psychological or psycho-educational reports
  • Speech and language reports
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy

Ask your doctor if you do not know if your child has these reports done.

Do I have to have my child assessed by a BCAAN clinician?

Clinicians who are not part of BCAAN can also assess and diagnose children but they have to use the same guidelines as BCAAN clinicians in order for you to receive funding from MCFD. If you want your child assessed by a clinician who is not part of BCAAN, talk to your doctor.

You may want to contact the Autism Society of BC (604-434-0880) for a list of names of professionals who can privately assess your child.

Do I have to go to Sunny Hill for an assessment if I want MCFD funding?

No - you can go someplace other than Sunny Hill, but the person who assesses your child must follow the same rules that BCAAN follows. Those rules are set by the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). The rules are different for children under age six than they are for children over age six.

The MCFD has different funding, depending on the age of your child.

Early Intensive Intervention (EII) funding is for children under six years of age. Extended Autism Intervention (EAI) funds are for children six and over. EII and EAI have different funding requirements. Details are available at http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/. or contact your local MCFD office. The number is in the Blue Pages of your phone book.

Do all BCAAN clinicians follow the same standards?

Yes. All the clinicians in BCAAN must follow the same standards. These standards have been tested and have been shown to work in studies.

The standards are called "Standards and Guidelines for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in British Columbia, 2003."

How long will I wait for an assessment?

Unfortunately, there is a wait list for BCAAN assessments. We will do everything we can to see your child as soon as possible. 

What can I do while I am waiting?

We know that waiting is difficult. If you run into difficulties while you are waiting, contact your doctor for help. The BC Autism Society also has a support network.

BCAAN may mail you some questionnaires and forms before your assessment. Some of the forms are for your child's preschool or school to fill in, with your permission. You should try to fill out these questionnaires and send them to us before your child's first appointment so that we are better prepared.

Can I get help for my child during the waiting period?

It is important to use the early intervention services in your community while you are waiting. You can access these services through your local community health office. You do not need a doctor's referral to use these services. Services include:

  • Infant Development Program (IDP)
  • Child Development Centres
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Supported Child Care (SCC)

Where do I get more information about these services?

Visit the MCFD website:

Who do I call during the waiting period?

If you have any concerns about your child, please call your family doctor or specialist.

If you would like information about your child's referral and wait list status, contact the health authority where you live

Can I get service in a language other than English?

Yes. Although English is most often spoken in the clinics, we can get an interpreter to come to your appointments. You should let us know if you need an interpreter when we give you an appointment.

Are all the appointments on the same day?

It depends on your child's needs and where you live.

Who should come to the appointments?

You know your child best. At least one parent or guardian needs to be at the assessments to provide information and to support your child. You can bring along another family member or caregiver for support if you wish. 

When and how am I told about the results of my child's assessment?

In most cases, we will talk with you about the results of your child's assessments after they are all finished. Once the assessments are done, your child's team will meet to talk about what they found out, and decide on a diagnosis and the best way to provide treatment. After they meet, they will contact you to set up a time to talk about the results.

Can my community team be involved?

Yes, if you wish. It can be useful for the clinicians to talk to the people in your community who will be providing ongoing treatment and care to your child. These meetings, called community conferences, are arranged after the family conference. You decide who attends this meeting.

When do I get a written report?

You will get a written summary about your child's diagnosis at the family conference. The final reports may take up to 4-6 weeks to finish.

What happens if my child is not diagnosed with autism?

BCAAN provides assessments and recommendations for all children and youth we see, regardless of the final diagnosis. If a child is not diagnosed with autism, he or she may still need help. We will make specific recommendations, and will help you to get the services your child needs, including developmental, mental health, education, and social supports, among others.

How do I make a complaint if I am unhappy with the service or with a specific person?

Your suggestions, comments and complaints help us to improve our services. We all benefit from listening to one another. Whether it is to answer a question, solve a problem or to share a success story, it is important that we hear from you.

Just as much as we want to hear about good experiences that you have had with our services, we also want you to tell us when you have a problem so we can resolve it. Please get in touch with us in person, by telephone, mail, fax or email.

If you have a complaint, please contact your regional representatives

If you require more help you can contact the provincial manager of BCAAN.

BCAAN PROGRAM MANAGER
3644 Slocan Street
Vancouver, BC
Phone: 604 453-8300
Fax: 604 453-8301
Email: autism@phsa.ca


SOURCE: BC Autism Assessment Network ( )
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