Resources for Parent Support & Education – Burnaby/Lower Mainland

Please find below a list of organizations (in alphabetical order) that provide education and support for families who have children with disabilities and which are convenient to families who live in Burnaby.

Access 2 Entertainment:  The Access 2 Entertainment card is for people of all ages and types of permanent disabilities who require the assistance of a support person at hundreds of participating entertainment, cultural and recreational venues across Canada.
A support person is an adult who accompanies a person with a permanent disability to assist with services that are not provided by the employees at the participating venue, such as assistance with eating, administering medication, communication and use of the facilities.

Autism Community Training (ACT):  ACT provides a province-wide information and ongoing training to support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. As well as facilitating live events in locations around the province, ACT has a library of on-line videos you can watch for free (log-in is required).

Autism Information Services BC: AIS BC is a provincial information centre for autism and related disorders that provides information and supports to families, service providers, and community professionals across B.C. Their experienced staff are available by phone, in person, or by email to explain the range of best practice treatment options for autism spectrum disorder to help you navigate the BC service system. AIS BC also manages and administers the Registry of Autism Service Providers (RASP) – a list of qualified professionals from across the province.

Autism Society of British Columbia:  The Society has on-line listing of resources for families and individuals and supports a Burnaby Parent Support Group.  You can find contact information on the Burnaby group facilitator at the site under Community Groups.

bc211: bc211 is a nonprofit organization that specializes in providing free information and referral regarding community, government and social services in BC. Help line services include 211, the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service (ADIRS), the Problem Gambling Help Line, VictimLink BC, and the Youth Against Violence Line.

BC Centre for Ability: The BC Centre for Ability provides community-based services that enhance the quality of life for children, youth and adults with disabilities and their families in ways that facilitate and build competencies and foster inclusion in all aspects of life. Programs include Supported Child Development, Therapy Services, Social Emotional Services, Vocational Services and Family Resources.

Burnaby Infant Development Program:  IDP serves children from birth to three years old who live in Burnaby and are at risk for, or who already have, a delay in development. All our programs are “family centered.” This means that you, the parents, decide on what kind of support you need.

Burnaby Community Services:   Burnaby Community Services publishes a Community Resource Guide which provides an extensive listing of programs and services in Burnaby and New Westminster.  They also offer a variety of services to assist families with low income and seniors experiencing isolation.

Burnaby Family Life:  Offers over 100 programs to members of the community, including parenting classes and parenting support groups.

BCEdAccess Society:BCEd Access Society is an organization serving families of students with disabilities and complex learners all over the province of British Columbia. Their parent support group has over 1600 members and stories shared on our private discussion board daily illustrate the depth of the challenges families face in pursuing equitable access to education in BC schools. They hold conferences and meetings throughout the year.

Canucks Autism Network: Canucks Autism Network (CAN) was founded in 2008 by Vancouver Canucks Co-owners, Paolo and Clara Aquilini, whose son has autism. CAN is dedicated to providing year-round sports and recreation programs for children, teens, young adults and families living with autism, while increasing autism awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia.

Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia:  The Cerebral Palsy Association offers a wide variety of classes and programs with the goal of seeing those living with cerebral palsy realize their place as equals in a diverse society.  These programs include adapted arts and sports classes, camper ships and employment supports.

Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods: (CAN) is a non-profit organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  CAN works to support full inclusion within communities through education, promotion, and advocacy.  Some nice links to recreation resources.

Community Living BC (CLBC): CLBC is a provincial crown agency, mandated under the Community Living Authority Act, that funds supports and services through service agencies for adults with developmental disabilities and their families in British Columbia. CLBC is working to create communities where people with developmental disabilities have more choices about how they live, work and contribute. Funding for adults with developmental disabilities goes toward services such as residential, community inclusion, day support, family support, respite, employment, etc. The Burnaby office can be reached at 604.660.8124

Disability Alliance BC:  The Alliance is very active in current disability issues as well as hosting a comprehensive on-line library of resources, historical information on disability in British Columbia. The Alliance has a particularly good resource base on BC Disability Benefits (PWD) including comprehensive guides on the supplements available. As well they have information and resources to help with applying for the Disability Tax Credit(DTC) and the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP).

Developmental Disabilities Mental Health Services (DDMHS): DDMHS provides specialized mental health community services for ages 12 and over who live with co-existing developmental disabilities and a mental illness. Individuals may also struggle with behavioural challenges that are often influenced by the mental illness and developmental disability.

The Disability Foundation: The Disability Foundation supports 6 affiliated societies. These societies foster meaningful experiences for people with disabilities through outdoor recreation, social connectedness and innovative adapted devices.

Down Syndrome Resource Foundation:  The Foundation hosts educational opportunities in North Burnaby for families, children and adults.  There are some free on-line video presentations of previous workshops. Please visit the website for more program and registration information.

Epilepsy Society:  The society has a resource-rich website that features downloadable webcasts of their ongoing Lecture Series as well as timely support tips for every season.  The Society hosts monthly on-line support groups as well as the Lecture Series held at Vancouver Children’s Hospital.

Family Caregivers of BC:There are over 1 million people in BC providing 80% of the care for a family member or friend. Family Caregivers of BC are there to help family caregivers navigate this often exhausting, but also rewarding, role. On their website you can find information about webinars, resources and the caregiver support phone line. Or you can take a Caregiver Self Assessment to monitor for “burn out.”

Family Services of Greater Vancouver:  Provides affordable family councelling services to Burnaby families.  The program is designed to ensure that everyone who needs counselling, gets counselling. Fees for service are charged on a sliding scale based on household income. You may be put on a wait list.

Family Smart: Family Smart is a resource hub and support network for families who have a child or youth with mental health concerns including addiction and anxiety. They hold monthly education and networking sessions call “In The Know.” The resource parent for Burnaby/New Westminster is

Family Support Institute (FSI):  Directed by families, the Family Support Institute works to bring families together to share their expertise, joys and challenges and the special understanding of having a son, daughter or family member with a disability. Support is available by phone, at community events or at workshops.  Click on the Resources link to subscribe to information newsletters and bulletins.

Grants and Bursaries for Equipment and Therapy: Families who have a child with a disability have, on average, lower household incomes, yet they must try to meet their child’s needs for therapy and equipment. Here are three charities that may help low income families with some of these expenses.

Western Society for Children
Variety Children’s Charity
CKNW Kids Fund

Here to Help:  HeretoHelp is a project of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.  Here to Help is a group of seven leading mental health and addictions non-profit agencies that have been working together since 2003 to help people live well and better prevent and manage mental health and substance use problems.

Inclusion BC:  Inclusion BC’s mission is to advocate for children, youth and adults with developmental disabilities and their families to ensure justice, rights and opportunities in all areas of their lives.  In the family section on the website Inclusion BC has resources and links to many resources valuable to families including information about Inclusive Education, Dual Diagnosis, Inclusive Recreation and financial planning.

Inclusion BC Advocacy : Inclusion BC has staff to help families and individuals with advocacy.

For advocacy help, call 1-844-488-4321 or email ADVOCACY@INCLUSIONBC.ORG

Kids In Burnaby:  The Burnaby Early Childhood Development Community Table is an intersectoral committee that is comprised of key stake holders in the ECD community in Burnaby. The Committee publishes a simple brochure to help families find appropriate child care in Burnaby and a regular newsletter with things to do with young children in Burnaby and sector news.

Kinsight: Kinsight has a wide range of parent support opportunities including support meetings and educational workshops which often take place nearby in Coquitlam.  Click on upcoming events for the full calendar.

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre:  BC’s mental health education resource for children youth and families has an on-line archive of educational workshops and presentations from their Pinwheel Education series.   Previous topics have included everything from Parenting and Video Games to IEPs.  Please visit the website for more information on the series.

Kudoz: Kudoz offers adults with cognitive disabilities a new way to meet people, have novel experiences and participate in the community. Members choose from a variety of experiences from bread making to tricycle riding, connect with a volunteer host and go out to try something new. The program is free and has no waitlist. There are now openings for a limited number of teens.

Literacy Now Burnaby: Literacy Now Burnaby is committed to building and enhancing literacy services, programs and networks in line with recommendations in the Burnaby Literacy Plan. Some nice resources including how to write in clear language.

Lower Mainland Down Syndrome Society:  While based in Surrey, the Society does host Parent Education and Networking events occasionally in Burnaby.  Please subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest event listings.

MOSAIC:Offers settlement services to a wide range of newcomers in the areas of employment, language and family needs.

Neil Squire Society: Neil Squire Society offers opportunities for people with disabilities to develop computer skills, build their employment skills and help re-enter or enter the work force. Their assistive technology services help remove any technology barriers particularly those related to employment. Their vision is “Economic and social inclusiveness for all people with disabilities.”

NIDUS:Nidus provides information to British Columbians about personal planning, specializing in Representation Agreements and also operates a centralized Registry for personal planning documents.  The site is very user-friendly if you wish to create your own documents.  NIDUS also hosts monthly webinars that give you the opportunity to learn in more detail about personal planning documents and ask questions.

The Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) : This large centre located in Richmond on the Fraser River strives to provide a network of supports for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families across the province. The PAFN’s purpose is to be a Knowledge Centre: Bringing together state of the art resources for research, information, learning, assessment, treatment and support; and building capacity to address the lifespan needs of individuals with ASD and related disorders. The PAFN will build upon existing lifespan services while at the same time addressing the need for support and services across the province.

PLAN:  Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network has a full schedule of learning opportunities convenient to Burnaby families, including Wills, Trusts & Estate planning, RDSP Information and Building Personal Networks.  Please visit their website and click on “attend a workshop”.  Both in-person and tele-learning opportunities are available.

POPARD: Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders: POPARD is funded by the Ministry of Education. It provides consultation and planning services for students with  Autism Spectrum Disorder.  POPARD is an outreach service.  The POPARD consultant will observe the student in their local school, and will meet with the parents, teachers, and other school personnel, to set goals and plan the student’s program. ​The observation and consultation phase usually consists of a one-day visit, with a follow-up during the same school year.

posAbilities:  posAlities, like BACI, provides services to individuals with disabilities. They have programs and workshops that everyone is welcome to attend such as Buddy Club and Knitting Club. They also offer behavioural consultation for ages 6 – 18. Please contact the Family Services Coordinator at  or call (604) 299-4001 extension 270.

Rare Disease Foundation Parent 2 Parent Resource Network:  Families with a member with a rare disease face special challenges. For example the lack of a diagnosis can result in patients and families being denied necessary services in hospitals, schools and the community. The Parent 2 Parent Resource Network brings families together for educational events and to support each other.

Spotlight on Mental Health: This peer-run site is for the people who use mental health services and their friends, families and supporters.  There is a wide range of information about local education events and support groups for individuals, family members and caregivers.

Services To Adults with Developmental Disabilities (STADD):  STADD is a BC government program for youth between the ages of 16 and 24 who are eligible for Community Living BC services and would like help planning the transition into adulthood. Youth and their families will be assigned a navigator. The navigator helps plan goals and access the supports available for young adults with developmental disabilities. As they transition, youth will be receiving services and programs from a large number of governmental agencies (Ministry of Children and Families, schools, health and medical services, Translink, Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, etc.) The navigator will help coordinate these services, so that the young person has the support of a collaborative team.

Special Olympics Burnaby: High-quality sports programs and competitions to meet the needs and interests of individuals with Intellectual disabilities, enriching lives and celebrating personal achievement through positive sports experiences. Special Olympics BC Burnaby welcomes athletes from a wide range of ages, backgrounds, interests and levels of ability, and provides a range of opportunities that are suitable to diverse needs. Athletes may choose to train year-round in one or many of our sporting programs offered, or choose to participate recreationally, or aim to compete at regional, provincial, national, or world competitions.

Square Peg Society: A support group for Aspergers, High Functioning Autistic and Atypical adults and their families. The group holds regular meetings about topics such as employment, post- secondary education, housing, finances and life & social skills.  Meetings are generally held the 3rd Thursday of each month at VanCity, South Burnaby Branch, 5064 Kingsway, Burnaby, 7-9pm. For more info contact: Louvain at or Joette at

Steps Forward – An Inclusive College or University Option for Young Adults with an Intellectual Disability STEPS Forward’s BC Initiative for Inclusive Post-Secondary Education (BC-IPSE) provides inclusion support for students with developmental disabilities to access post-secondary education in BC. Students enroll at the university or college of their choice and to pursue studies and engage in student life in the same classes and places as any other student. Over 4 years, students take a variety courses with a focus in a specific field of studies.

Support Worker Central:  Finding compatible support workers to assist you or your family member with a disability can be challenging. Support Worker Central is an online database designed to match individuals, families and agencies with support workers in their communities. Support Worker Central is a project of FSI.

Tax benefits for British Columbian families:  The Canada Revenue Agency has a web video series outlining all available tax benefits for people with disabilities and their families.

Vela: Provides information and mentoring to individuals with disabilities and their trusted others who are looking for customized, inclusive and creative supports and services.  Their particular areas of expertise are forming a Microboard™ and accessing Individualized Funding from CLBC.

The Vancouver Parents Transition Group:  An education and support group for parents of youth with disabilities who are transitioning to adulthood. The group meets once per month and features guest speakers who provide information and support to families.  Families from Burnaby and New Westminster are welcome to come to the group. It is supported, in part, by Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion.

WayFinders: WayFinders is a free program for individuals with disabilities and their families. The WayFinder in your community has experience in creating a path towards a life filled with meaningful days as well as knowledge of the resources and supports available. Most WayFinders are parents of an individual with a disability and have been active as volunteers or professionals in the Community Living movement. Meet with your WayFinder once or on an on-going basis.

MORE:  If you have a resource that you believe would be of benefit to families who have a family member with a disability and is easy to access by Burnaby families, please send your link to Rachel @