Welcome To North Fraser!
The North Fraser Team works primarily out in the community and also have an office space located at in Coquitlam.
The North Fraser team serves the following communities:
- Maple Ridge
- New Westminster
Getting To Know The Regional Manager – Virginia Renaud
What is your training? What do you bring to this position?
I started out my career as a Journalist, but then when my first child was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3, I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about the disorder. This led me to University courses, Conferences and Workshops. I was looking for answers, but over time, I came to understand Autism and the uniqueness of every child in a profound way. When my son was five, I created the parent support group that later came to be known as the Fraser Valley Autism Society. I worked in the field of Autism as an Interventionist, and a Case Manager for 13 years before joining Pivot Point. I have a long background in family advocacy and have developed many regional contacts as a result. When I meet with a family for the first time, I always ask myself one question: If this were my child, what would I want? That way of thinking has helped me to stay in touch with families and ensure they get the services they need and want.
What do you like about working for Pivot Point?
The versatility and transparency of the organization. I love telling families about that. I also love the way we are all so connected, like a close-knit family and that everyone is part of the same team, no matter what region we work in.
What’s your favourite part of the Regional Manager job?
Oh that has to be meeting the families! Whether it’s meeting them for an information session at the beginning of their Autism Journey, or helping them create their child’s plan and embrace a new therapy or approach, that is a very empowering thing. I am passionate about helping families get on track and stay there. I have a son with Autism as well – he’s in his early twenties now. My own struggles over the years have taught me so much, I feel very blessed to be able to pass on this knowledge and experience to others. I still get a thrill every time a child learns something new and shares it with his/her family. It just makes everything I do worthwhile. Sorry if that sounds clichéd, but this is more of a passion for me than a position.
Can you introduce us to the people in your region?
Absolutely! We are fortunate to have three Behaviour Consultants who usually work in our region. They are Katie Treleaven, Tatiana Sitar and Margaret Tarumian. These three ladies have a wonderful way of relating to families and using their own experience and high level of training to ensure our team can ignite the fire of change and sustain positive growth for all of our families. Plus, they’re a lot of fun!
We are also very pleased to welcome Pam Mason to our team as a Counsellor. Pam is formally trained as a Registered Nurse, but is now working towards her masters in Counselling. Her passion for the field of Mental Health led her to Randy Atkinson RCC, who still acts as her professional mentor. Pam has been practicing as a counsellor for 12 years and her kind, easy-going, warm nature is often referred to as “magical”.
Our Behaviour Interventionists are also called Child Care Workers and “frontline” staff. These are the people who spend the most time in our client’s homes. Their formal training began in University where they studied Psychology, Early Childhood Development and ABA. Jeff, Diane, Ashleigh, Dana, Jerra, Hatty, Daniel and Katherine bring a warmth and vitality to our region. They are all very friendly and put up with my crazy sense of humour!
Our Speech and Language Pathologist is Zoe Lee. Zoe began her career as a BI, working at Pivot Point. The fire of change was not only ignited in the families she worked with, but in Zoe herself! She went on to attain her Masters and is now a practicing Speech and Language Pathologist and we are proud to list her as part of our team.
Our Clinical Director, Elizabeth Sparling oversees all programs and regularly reviews the data collected by our frontline staff. She is always there for support and guidance, ensuring that we achieve and maintain the highest levels of service in the field. Elizabeth herself has been working with children with special needs for over 20 years. As a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA), she supports children and youth with developmental disabilities, primarily those with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Elizabeth was the founder of BC-ABA and was the first President of the organization. As a parent of a teen with Autistic Disorder, she strives to give 100% to the community as she truly recognizes the difference that therapeutic programming can make to the life of a child with ASD and their family.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about your team?
Yes. My team (both Professionals and Para-Professionals) take their work seriously, but we all believe in the same thing. Intervention should be fun! The entire teams works hard to get to know “their families” so that the learning environment is as welcoming and nurturing as possible.
What happens if a family doesn’t get along with one of your staff?
Fit is incredibly important to us. That simply means that if a family is uncomfortable with one of our staff, we will find another. Easy. Done. No drama. Our para-professionals- BI’s and CCW’s- know that not everyone is going to love their style of teaching and interacting, and it’s in the best interest of the child and ultimately the family for us to find that great fit as quickly as possible. Each of my staff is very supportive and professional in that regard. They are an amazing group and none of them take this personally. It’s just one more way we can help de-stress an already stressed-out family.
What are the goals for your region?
Growth, parent workshops, teen transition and more social skills groups.
Our social skills programs and parent workshops are run out of our Coquitlam location, (just off Como Lake Road and Poirier) as this seems somewhat central for most people. I recognise that we are working in tight-knit communities, and I hope that with the creation of these Regional Pages, I can show people that we are not only prepared to talk the talk, we’re walking the walk. Literally! (My team is once again lacing up our running shoes for the annual Walk for Autism, sponsored by Autism Speaks.)
With the creation of our Facebook page, I’m trying my best to keep up with current information that will help families navigate this confusing world of special education.
As both a parent and a professional, I am dedicated to getting the word out about Pivot Point as a quality choice for families. We’ve been gaining parental support for the region through the things we do within our community as well as the individual successes we experience. Not enough is known about our organization in the North Fraser region and I’m working hard to change that, one day at a time. By liaising with other groups and becoming involved in community events, I believe we can show parents and other decision-makers that we are different in a great way and our passion for family success shows! I am pleased to be offering parent workshops and with the addition of our job coaches and teen transition program, we are perfectly placed to affect positive change. Our mission statement isn’t just a collection of words. We really do strive to be the truth behind these words: “To help create the turning point in people’s lives, that will give inspiration and focus to personal growth and success”!
What group programs do you offer? We are rolling out some new and wonderful groups. In the past, we’ve had great success with our social skills programs, but we wanted to be able to do more for families, and have the effects of the group be longer lasting and have a greater impact on their lives. In order to have bigger, better results, we turned to the PEERS model, which was developed in UCLA. PEERS stands for Program for the Education and Enhancement of Relationship Skills. This parent-participation program is aimed at educating teens in how to make and keep friends. We have run it several times now, and have had exciting results. Parents have told us it was “life changing” and “the best social program [they’ve] ever experienced”! Now if that isn’t empowering then I don’t know what is! This summer we are looking forward to having another PEERS training, this time for a junior model, so we can offer the same curriculum to younger kids, (8-12) and help jumpstart their friendship making skills too. So stay tuned! We can’t wait to start! Now that we have online registration through our website, getting started is easier than ever!
What do you hope people will learn from this page?
I hope that people will see how big our hears are, and that together with the type of therapy we offer, we really can make a difference in their children’s lives.
Families, we really do want what’s best for your child. When your child succeeds, we all win!