We are working hard behind the scenes to bring together another stellar event. Whether this will be your first time attending or you’ve come to every one so far, we hope you walk away inspired, energized, connected, and ready to take your influence to the next level.
If you’re looking for help to prepare you for the event or to help you decide if this conference is for you, and to answer a number of questions, this is the blog post to read. Information will be updated here as it becomes available.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Who Sponsors the BCEdAccess Conference?
Without our sponsors, we could not put on such a great event. We thank:
Inclusion BC is a provincial federation whose members include people with intellectual disabilities, families and community agencies.
The Inclusion BC provincial office provides support, education and advocacy where and when it’s needed, breaking down barriers and building communities that include people of all abilities.
Your Education Matters is a community engagement project of Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Education. YEM is directed by Paul Shaker, former dean of the faculty. The purpose of the project is to promote popular understanding of the value of public education and to foster advocacy for the renewal of our public schools and post-secondary institutions. Your Education Matters has produced over sixty full-length television programs interviewing educators and friends of education. YEM has more recently used social media and public events to encourage BC citizens to be informed and to advocate for their public schools and universities.
The purpose of the Family Support Institute of BC is to strengthen, connect and build communities and resources with families of people with disabilities in BC. We believe that families are the best resource available to support one another. Directed by families, the Family Support Institute provides information, training, and province-wide networking to assist families and their communities to build upon and share their strengths.
If you’re planning on staying at the Civic Hotel for the conference:
For your guestrooms please book directly at https://civichotel.ca/ -click “Book Now”,
-enter check-in and checkout dates,
-“Special Rates” drop down will appear under dates,
-select “Corporate/Promo/Set#” and
-in the blank field enter the L6C to get a $170 rate.
Showkraft Production Services
Showkraft is providing a sponsorship to assist with the cost of audio/visual equipment and services for the conference. We’re very grateful!
“You can only truly prosper as an individual if you are surrounded by and connected to a vibrant, sustainable community.” Vancity provides support in many ways to the community and we are grateful recipients of their generosity for this event.
Yes, you can still sign up to be a sponsor. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the Exhibitor and Sponsor Form – we still have a very limited number of tables available to set up outside the event which can be booked separately or as a part of the sponsorship package, so if you want a table, please apply soon!
Is The Conference Accessible?
The conference is being held on the second floor of the Civic Hotel, which has an accessible entrance and elevators that are sufficiently wide for wheelchairs and motorized scooters. There is also accessible underground parking with an elevator that brings you up to the hotel. There are no steps to access any conference spaces.
The conference rooms do not have access buttons at this time, although we have been working with the hotel on this, they are unsure whether they will be ready by the date of our event. We will ensure that a door remains open for those who need this.
We have planned for a smaller number of attendees in order to allow for adequate space for those who use mobility devices to get through tables and down aisles.
Speakers will use microphones, and presenters have been asked to ensure that any videos are captioned.
There will be a quiet room available at the conference for those who may need a break from time to time.
Unfortunately we will not be able to provide any meals for specific allergies or sensitivities; we will be discussing avoiding nuts and providing gluten free and vegetarian options with the caterers and will update that information here.
We do not have sign language interpreters or real time captioning arranged at this time, although we are trying to find these services so if you have a lead for us please let us know!
There will be service dogs present.
If you have any individual needs that you do not see addressed here, please let us know asap so that we can provide appropriate accommodations.
Can I Volunteer?
Yes! We need all kinds of volunteers from reception table staff to technical help for live streaming to promoters and cheerleaders who will share this event on social media and in person. Contact email@example.com
What is an Advocacy Conference?
Parents are their child’s best advocate, until their child is ready to be their own advocate – and parents can teach them the skills they need to get there! Our conference provides practical tools and information for families and those who work with children with disabilities and complex learners that they can take away and put to use!
This year will be a full two day conference, Friday, October 18th and Saturday, October 19th, with an evening reception and lightning talks on the Friday night.
The Friday features a 20 minute talk by BC People First, a self-advocates’ organization, featuring JoAnne Gauthier, Conrad Tyrkin, Dave Sherritt. They’ll be presenting a talk called “Our Experiences in the Education System: Overcoming Frustrations by Staying Solution Oriented”. We’re very excited to learn from their experiences. Don’t miss it!
In addition, Patricia Kovacs will bring greetings from the Minister of Education We will have 4 workshop session times through the day, with 3 amazing choices during each session, and we will end at 4 so that you can come to the evening event…
The third annual Struck by Inclusion evening! Held Friday night, this reception event features 9 speakers who will each deliver a quick and inspiring presentation on inclusion. There will be appies and beverages, and a Q&A with our speakers – self-advocates, parents and other professionals who have something to say about equitable access to education! Still taking applications to present – contact us if you are interested!
Saturday will feature a 20 minute keynote speech by sponsor Inclusion BC executive director, Karla Verschoor, entitle Everyone Belongs In Our Schools, and a performance by the Mayday Club Youth Choir, made up of forty-two young people from around British Columbia affected by autism and other neurodiversities. We’re very excited to have them! The rest of the day will have 4 workshop sessions with 3 choices in each, a talk by Jacquelyn Perry, called “Inner World Outer World: Using Tablet Technology to Share more of myself and bring the World closer to me”and a student self-advocate panel that was one of the most well loved events of last year!
The conference is generally attended by parents and guardians of students with disabilities and complex learners, self-advocates, professionals working with this population of students, and allies.
We invite you to take part in the quality programming and make connections this year!
When Does the Conference Take Place and Where?
Friday, October 18th from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, and 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Saturday, October 19th from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
in Surrey, BC at the beautiful Civic Hotel.
Where Can I View the Speakers and Workshops?
Right here! The schedule so far is in the image below. We’re still juggling presentations so it may change a bit in terms of timing but the content here is confirmed!
Here is a list of some of the speakers and workshop titles:
Look for our posts on the speakers and workshops, we’re releasing a new one every day!
Workshops – do I get to Take Them All?
You will get to choose 4 workshops from a list of 12 possible options on Friday, and 4 workshops out of 12 options on Saturday, for a total of 8 workshops, and you’ll receive a certificate for each of them. I am having as much trouble as you will in deciding which ones to attend so I apologize in advance because they are all great!
What About Accommodations? Is there a Group Rate?
Yes! The Civic Hotel is providing a conference rate of $149 CAD per night, here’s how to access it! I’ll be staying 3 nights, and I encourage you to consider it as it’s a great way to really immerse yourself in the event.
This conference unites 150 parents, guardians, self-advocates, education professionals and other allies of students with disabilities and complex learners from around BC, convening for a yearly conference of learning, networking, advocacy and human rights training, and more.
What If I Am Not a Parent?
AdvoCon2019 is designed for parents and guardians of students with disabilities, and also includes content that will be relevant to attendees who are education professionals, self-advocates (some of whom are parents/guardians as well) and allies, and we encourage you to come if you want to learn more from and about these students and their needs and experiences. Presenters give a lot of practical information, and this year we will be providing a certificate for each workshop to attendees so that it may be used for Continuing Professional Development credits, reimbursement, etc.
This year’s theme is Connecting to Strengthen Advocacy in Education. We believe that there is so much common ground, and we can work together to achieve true systemic change – government, teachers, EAs, parents/guardians, students, etc.
Are there any additional events?
Besides the two conference days, we are planning a Lightning Talk night on the Friday evening, October 18th, 2019.
A Lightning Talk is a presentation style where people have 5 minutes to speak. The format keeps the multiple presentations concise and fast-paced. We have invited speakers who have an exciting idea or a meaningful experience they would like to share about inclusion and equitable access to education.
Following the presentations, there will be a Q&A with speakers.
Speakers will be announced later in September – still adding as we speak! Let us know if you are interested.
How to get there:
There’s plenty of accessible underground parking at the Civic Hotel, and the Surrey Central SkyTrain station is steps away. See the hotel link for directions:
No two conference years are ever the same. This is the fifth year of our event, and we have some returning speakers presenting different material, as well as a whole range of new workshops and presenters. We have continued with having a second day as we have so much material our members would like us to cover! As our membership has interest in a wide range of topics, we attempt to find a good variety while still giving the information our members need. Connecting face to face is powerful, and our attendees and sponsors value the interaction in order to form and continue relationships.
Size and Location
Population in the lower Mainland is higher than most other areas of BC so we are able to reach a large portion of our membership. As the organizer, I do not live in the lower Mainland but I have only been able to organize one event a year up to this point.
Help! I Live Really Far Away From Surrey and Can’t Attend In Person!
This conference is about serving parents and guardians of students with disabilities and complex learners, and our membership is everywhere in the province. We’re also a grassroots, unfunded, fully volunteer run organization at the moment. It’s been a challenge balancing those two things, and we hope to do better every year.
This year, we have possible options for those who live far away and want to participate:
Travel bursaries – Inclusion BC and VanCity have sponsored travel bursaries for people who need to come from far away. People will be able to enter a lottery to receive a bursary. Email us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be offering an online streaming ticket option to access speakers and workshops for people to be able to participate remotely!
Family Support Institute is helping to organize group streaming events around the province so local families can connect in person and participate. Check with them to see if there is an event being organized in your area!
It’s too much money for me.
To be frank, it can be difficult to find sponsors because we are not yet a charity so we can’t provide a tax receipt. We’re working on that but it takes time – about a year, I’m told. We’re really appreciative of our current sponsors who are able to support us without receiving that receipt, it means a lot.
Still, it costs more than we are able to raise to pay the conference expenses. Ticket prices are strictly a reflection of those costs. We’re an entirely volunteer run organization at this point.
All of that said, we realize that the price makes the conference, ironically, inaccessible to many.
Here are a few options to help with costs:
The Autism Funding Unit (AFU) has approved our conference as a reimbursable expense in past years so if you have that funding it’s a good option.
Inclusion BC and Vancity have sponsored travel bursaries for people who need to come from far away. People will be able to enter a lottery to receive a bursary. Email us for more information at email@example.com
Online tickets are far less expensive and still have all of the great content
We recommend asking a local organization to sponsor your attendance. Your PAC or DPAC may sponsor you, or another organization you’re involved with.
If none of these options work we can help! Email Tracy at firstname.lastname@example.org – we never want anyone to be unable to attend due to financial concerns.
Will you do a conference that isn’t in the lower Mainland?
We are now a non-profit society! With that status comes the power of fundraising, a board of directors, and a strategic plan, which are all still in development. One initiative we will are actively working on is to have a second, slightly different conference annually that rotates around the province – on the Island, in the Okanagan, up in northern parts of BC. We are currently seeking locations and considering April as the tentative date.
How can I get more involved in your organization?
You can start by becoming a member! Membership for one year is $15 – go HERE to become a member today! You can also contribute one time or monthly to support our organization.
We’re always looking for volunteers so please feel free to get in touch!
Is There a Facebook Group?
It all started with a Facebook Group!
“Like” our Public Facebook page, BCEdAccess Society Public Page – Action for Access to Education, and message the page administrators to gain access to the Private Facebook group for parents and guardians of children with disabilities and complex learners in BC. – or search for the group (BCEdAccess Private Parent/Guardian Support Group) and answer all of the questions to be added.
PS we are also planning to start a Facebook book club group for Society members – stay tuned!
Who runs the Conference, and the Society?
The Society is currently run by our board of directors – learn more about them HERE
The Conference is run by a small and dedicated team of volunteer organizers:
We always have a number of other volunteers who help get things going during the planning stages, and run things on the day, who we will acknowledge as that list gets built!
We work together to bring you the best event we can create.