Free Parent Training Feb 12th

Parent Training Evening Wednesday Febuary 12th, 2014 7:00-8:30pm 

Play Centre Summer Camp Registration Now Open

Register your novice and or expert player for a Play Centre Integrated Play Groups summer program. 

Friend 2 Friend Creates International Autism Demystification Program to Support Adults with Autism in the Workplace

November 7, 2013


Local Charity Creates International Autism Demystification Program to Support Adults with Autism in the Workplace 

Vancouver, B.C. – Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society is proud to announce the launch of their new program Demystifying Autism in the Workplace: The Friend 2 Friend Model

“Individuals on the autism spectrum make wonderful employees and co-workers. They are reliable, hardworking, honest and bring many talents and skills to the table,” says McCracken, creator of the Friend 2 Friend Model and programs and Founder/Executive director of Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society.

Friend 2 Friend’s Demystifying Autism in the Workplace program focuses on teaching employers and co-workers the necessary skills to include individuals on the autism spectrum in the workplace. The program works to promote understanding, acceptance and empathy to enhance peer social relations, productivity and a safe and healthy environment for all. The program teaches employers and co-workers effective, prosocial communication strategies and provides ongoing support to ensure the ultimate success of the program. Benefits for employers include gaining access to an enormous untapped talent pool of highly capable workers while at the same time creating an inclusive educated workplace.

“Our vision has always been to create a community, and now a workplace, where individuals on the autism spectrum would find the support they require to be contributing members and to feel accepted for who they are,” says McCracken. “My son [who was the inspiration for the design of the program 15 years ago] is now 20, is finishing post secondary education and will be entering into the workforce shortly. I know the stumbling block to employment will not be his abilities or skills; rather, it will be, as it always has been, that his employer and co-workers will not understand his unique kind of mind. It is my hope that our new Demystifying Autism in the Workplace program will help to create inclusive workplaces for individuals like my son and continue the mission of Friend 2 Friend to change the world one mind at a time.”

Friend 2 Friend has over a decade of experience designing and delivering their unique and innovative autism demystification programs to 175,000 children and young adults in BC, Canada, the US and abroad, with satellite organizations in Alberta, Vermont, San Francisco and another underway in Germany. Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society was founded in 2002 by Heather McCracken — a parent of three, including a son who has autism.

Employers interested in participating in the pilot project please contact Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society at For more information visit our online press room at or contact us at:

URL:, Email:

Twitter @F2FHeather, @F2FPlayCentre

Heather McCracken

Cell: 604-528-0560

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Spring Break Camps Registration Now Open

Just a few spots left in our Spring Break Camps

Click here for more information 

Expert Players are invited to attend Spring Break Camps for Free!

Facilitator’s Workshop Feb 15, 2014 Registration Now Open

Implementing the Friend 2 Friend Autism Demystification Packaged Program
Saturday Feb 15th, 2014 9:00am-4:00pm
Friend 2 Friend Play Centre 2941 Kingsway, Vancouver BC Canada, V5R 5J2.

The Facilitator’s Workshop prepares professionals and parents to implement the Friend 2 Friend Autism Demystification packaged programs with the children/ clients they serve. This one day workshop is appropriate for those who want to learn the hands on application of the programs: Can I Play Too?: Autism Demystification Puppet Packaged Program and  Demystifying Autism: The Friend 2 Friend Simulation Game.

Registration Information:  Space is limited to 30 participants. Early Bird Registration $200 Before January 15th, 2014. Late Registration $250 After January 15th, 2014. Registration Begins November 1st.

Registration fee includes: 1 copy of the Can I Play Too? (value $69.95), 1 copy of Demystifying Autism (value $59.95), refreshment breaks and handouts. Please Note:Lunch is on your own. Free street parking near the Play Centre.

To Register Click Here 

Parents fault teachers on autism awareness

Parents fault teachers on autism awareness


Oct. 9, 2013, 5:03 a.m.

Two-thirds of parents with a teenager with autism spectrum disorder don’t believe educators are well informed about the condition, a report from Autism Spectrum Australia has found.

The We Belong Too report, released today, found teenagers with ASD needed more support in the classroom dealing with issues such as stress and bullying.

It surveyed 100 students aged between 12 and 17 on the high-functioning end of the ASD spectrum and 65 parents of a teenager with ASD. Most children in the survey attended mainstream schools.

Almost three-quarters of the students said they had difficulty concentrating in class and over 60 per cent said they needed more support completing their homework and in-class work.

While only 49 per cent of parents thought their child needed more support developing concentration skills, 66 per cent didn’t think teachers knew enough about ASD.

Dr Debra Costley, director of Aspect Practice for Autism Spectrum Australia and lead researcher on the report, said it was surprising how open students were about needing extra assistance.

“I was hoping things would have improved with this group because we have done a lot of work with school teachers and schools to give them information and support, so to find young people are still telling us they are struggling in schools is quite interesting,” she said.

“That’s why it’s really important to ask these students what their views are, because if we just asked their parents we would get a different answer.”

Stress was the number one mental health concern for the students and more than half said they needed extra help to deal with bullying and discrimination. Close to 60 per cent said they needed more support making friends, but a common comment was that their friendships were the best part of school.

Bruce Rowles, principal at Aspect South Coast School, said while he wasn’t surprised teenagers with ASD wanted more assistance in and out of the classroom, mainstream schools worked hard to provide all students with a supportive environment.


F2F-IPG program fees too high – take a closer look!

Recently we have heard gossip that our services fees are “too high”.  And, if you just look at the fee and do not research the actual program, it might look like the fees are high on the surface. We encourage you to “look closer” because….

  1. There are 72 hours of a Master Guide’s (Master Guide is the equivalent to a Behaviour Consultant or higher) time for each Integrated Play Groups (IPG) program. All F2F Master Guides hold a master’s degree (or are working towards) in Speech and language, Occupational Therapy, Psychology or Special Education. They run every program – they are not just consultants they are hands on with the children.
  2. There are 40-45 hours of a Play Guide’s (Play Guide is the equivalent of a Behavioural Interventionist) time for each IPG program. All Play Guides have undergraduate or graduate degrees in related fields as well.
  3. There are 18-25 hours of the director’s (my time) for every IPG program. I am the only IPG supervisor (meaning I am permitted to train others) in the world outside of Dr. Wolfberg. And, Friend 2 Friend is the only organization in Canada endorsed by Dr. Wolfberg to deliver the IPG model.
  4. The Friend 2 Friend – Integrated Play Groups (F2F-IPG) program is individually designed to meet the child’s needs. We do 8 weeks of assessment (no extra charge).
  5. The F2F-IPG program includes a full written report with goals and strategies (no extra charge).
  6. The F2F-IPG program includes written session notes after every play group session.
  7. All materials used (Social Stories™, visual schedules, Autism Demystification Packaged Programs, etc.) are provide to the family (no extra charge).
  8. The F2F-IPG program includes a 90-minute parent training session (no extract charge).
  9. The F2F-IPG program includes monthly parent support groups (no extra charge).
  10. There is no extra charge for any materials used as part of the program – have you seen the Play Centre – it’s amazing!
  11. Each IPG consists of 1 or 2 novice players (no more then 2 children with autism or related needs) and 2-3 expert players (typically developing peers and siblings).
  12. Expert players attend completely free of charge.
  13. The programs are 1 hour long. However, we extend the time if we feel the children can do it, up to a 90-minute session (no extra charge).
  14. If a family comes to us with no autism funding, or are waiting on funding and wants our services, we provide them a program completely free of charge.
  15. AND, for families who have exhausted their autism funding, we reduce our rates and or provide free programs whenever we can.
  16. If a family whose child is participating in the F2F-IPG requests extra services, we often provide those completely free of charge as well (IEP meetings, team meetings, video tape, extra reporting, etc.).

One single F2F-IPG program costs the Society just under $12,000. We ask families to contribute $1,800 of that (if they have the funding to do so).

Talk to a parent whose child is currently participating in a Friend 2 Friend – Integrated Play Groups program or read the testimonials on our website.

And finally, I am a mother of three children and my son has autism – I do this for the children and their families not for the $$.

Take a closer look by attending our upcoming IPG conference and help out a great cause!



Weekend Master Guides and Play Guides Needed!

Friend 2 Friend is currently seeking a part time Master Guide and Play Guides to support the delivery of our Integrated Play Groups program at our new Play Centre in East Vancouver.

Community Partner Liaison Volunteers Needed!

What is a Community Partner Liaison (CPL)?

Friend 2 Friend Community Partner Liaison volunteers work closely with the Friend 2 Friend executive team to establish communication and cooperative relationships between Friend 2 Friend and the school and/or district based teams and other community organizations throughout BC. The primary purpose of the Liaison is to increase awareness of the mandate of the Society.

Working in specific districts throughout BC, the duties of the Community Partner Liaison (CPL) are as follows:

  • Create a community partners contact list for your region
  • Share information packages to promote the Society’s mandate with the community partners
  • Meet with community partners to provide brief introduction to Friend 2 Friend services
  • Contact local schools, preschools, daycares and community centers to support the coordination of expert players for the Play Centre programs
  • Increase awareness of the BC Communities Capacity Building Program
  • Support the implementation of the Friend 2 Friend marketing plan
  • Support the implementation of Friend 2 Friend fundraisers and other promotional activities
  • Organize brief talks on the Society, mandate and programs
  • Increase awareness and visibility of the Society and programs using social media

Friend 2 Friend is seeking 4-8 professional candidates for the position of Community Partner Liaison. Friend 2 Friend will provide all training and materials.  The ideal candidate will be available to work 4-10 hours per week throughout the school year (September- June).  Each CPL will focus their efforts in one district or region of the lower mainland or BC.

Interested candidates please applying by emailing your resume and covering letter to Jennifer Jacobs at

Back to School – No Sigh of Relief For Families of Children without Friends

Back to School – No Sigh of Relief For Children without Friends

 75% of children with autism experience bullying, exclusion, loneliness and anxiety in the school environments. Friend 2 Friend Social Learning society seeks to address these challenges by providing education to families and professionals during our highly anticipated 2013 Integrated Play Groups Conference on Sept. 27th-28th at Vancouver Hillel, UBC. Learn to support children with autism AND their typically developing peers.  For more information and registration:

Play Centre 1st Anniversary Celebration

new play centreJoin Us Friday September 27th 7-9pm

The Play Centre 1st Anniversary Wine and Cheese Reception

Please contact our office to attend at