In Memoriam: A Tribute to our Beloved Board Member – Paul Redekopp

The Board of Directors and staff of the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre honour the memory of Board member, Paul Redekopp who passed away on December 30, 2020.

We are honored by his service on the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre Board of Directors since 2014.  Paul was a dedicated board member and community champion.  His energy, generosity, and smile are deeply missed by FVCDC and the Fraser Valley communities.

Paul Redekopp (Dec 23, 1969 – December 30, 2020)

Call for New Board Directors

Fraser Valley Child Development Centre (FVCDC) is seeking new board members who will serve a minimum two-year term and support FVCDC to achieve its vision of “a world where all people are welcomed to participate meaningfully in family and community life”.

The Organization: FVCDC provides opportunities and services which enhance the quality of life for children with diverse abilities and their families. FVCDC was founded in 1982, and is a fully accredited, registered charity. Our multidisciplinary team of 100 professionals serve over 3,600 children and youth in the Fraser Valley per year, as well as providing support and educational training to parents/caregivers, early childhood professionals and community partners. We are proud to serve the communities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Hope/Fraser Cascades, on the unceded territorial lands of the Sto:lo peoples.

About the Board: Our policy board is made up of volunteer professionals from the communities we serve. They bring passion, expertise, and connections to their roles. Our current board members are Chair, Brian Gaudet, Co-Chair, Andrea Senft, Treasurer, Peter Fast, and Directors, Bobbi Sandhu, Peter Lang, and Josh Reynolds. The Board meets monthly to govern and oversee the management of the organization.

Mindset: We welcome applications from individuals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and youth with diverse abilities, their families, and communities. They will ideally share our commitment to creating healthier, more inclusive communities.

Strengths: We are looking for individuals with one or more of the following strengths and characteristics:

• Fund development
• Influence in philanthropy
• Diversity, equity and inclusion
• Connection to the Hope/Fraser Cascades community

Previous board experience is not required, but an asset.

How to Apply: Please reply by (date) with a resume and covering letter to Lisa Gunn at

FVCDC is committed to diversity and welcomes applications from all individuals including but not limited to black, indigenous and people of colour, LGBTQ2S+, youth, and persons with diverse abilities.

A big thank you to the Abbotsford Community Foundation!

Fraser Valley Child Development Centre is a proud to be among the recipients of Abbotsford Community Foundation's Smart & Caring Community Grants.

This funding will expand two critical programs: Program Echo, preventing burnout for parents of children with extra support needs, and CALM Connection, enhancing parent-child relationships and social emotional learning.

Thank you for supporting vulnerable children and families in the Abbotsford community! Together, we are Helping Kids Shine!

FVCDC and Seabird Island Band Announce New Partnership


The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre and Seabird Island Band are excited to announce a new partnership benefiting children and families in the community. While the organizations are longtime collaborators, this is their first formal partnership agreement.

“This partnership will enable us to strengthen relationships and cultural understanding, while delivering critical support to children and families in the Seabird Island community,” said Karen Dickenson Smith, executive director, Fraser Valley Child Development Centre. “It is part of our shared commitment to building healthier, more unified and inclusive communities.”

The two organizations will work together to support the delivery of culturally sensitive speech-language pathology services that enhance children’s growth, well-being, and participation.

“All children should have access to the services and supports they need,” said Carlene Brown, director of early childhood development at Seabird Island Band. “We hope to help each child reach his or her fullest potential by helping them learn the tools of effective communication.”

Seabird Island Band exists to promote a healthier, self-sufficient, self-governing, unified and educated community. We believe that a healthy community is one that has achieved physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and cultural balance.

The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre’s vision is a world where all people are welcomed to participate meaningfully in family and community life. We give children the tools for individual success and helps families and caregivers better understand their child’s growth, development and learning, and strengthen community inclusion.

Thank you Chilliwack Foundation

We wish to express our sincerest thanks and gratitude to the Chilliwack Foundation for supporting the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre through the COVID-19 pandemic with the Chilliwack Foundation’s Fall grant program.  This funding will expand critical technology to provide essential services to children and youth with diverse abilities and their families.  The support of the Chilliwack Foundation has made an incredible impact on our Centre and the families we serve in a time when it is needed most!


The Chilliwack Foundation relies entirely upon donations, gifts and legacies for its funds to carry out its role in the community. We are so grateful for the generosity and support for vulnerable children and families in the community. Each Grant season, the Chilliwack Foundation Committee approves grants up to the maximum amount available for distribution for that Grant Season. The Foundation’s Distribution Committee meets after receiving the grant applications to decide which will be approved for that Grant season.  We are proud to be among the recipients of the Fall 2020 Grant season.  Visit to learn more.


The Fraser Valley Child Development Centre (FVCDC)’s vision is a world where all people are welcomed to participate meaningfully in family and community life. FVCDC gives children the tools for individual success and helps families/caregivers better understand their child’s growth, development and learning, and strengthen community inclusion. 


FVCDC was founded in 1982 and is a fully accredited, registered charity governed by a volunteer board of directors.  In 1999 we opened our Chilliwack office. Our multidisciplinary team of 100 professionals serves over 3,600 children and youth in the Fraser Valley per year. Services include occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language therapy, infant/child development consultation and family counselling support, and specialized services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the families we serve are experiencing even more anxiety and stress.  Funds from the Chilliwack Foundation Grant will allow us to continue to meet the essential service needs of these vulnerable families while ensuring health and safety. 


Thank you; together, we are “Helping Kids Shine!”


For additional information, contact Karen Dickenson Smith, Executive Director, 604-852-2686 x2227

FVCDC COVID-19 Response Letter from Executive Director, Karen Dickenson Smith- July 6/20

FVCDC Covid-19 Response Letter - July 6/20 from Executive Director Karen Dickenson Smith


FVCDC COVID-19 Response Letter from Executive Director, Karen Dickenson Smith

View the FVCDC COVID-19 response letter from Executive Director, Karen Dickenson Smith.


Notice of Appointment – New Executive Director at the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre

The Board of Directors are excited to announce the appointment of Karen Dickenson Smith as Executive Director of the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre, effective April 6, 2020. Ms. Dickenson Smith succeeds Karen McLean who served as Executive Director for 22 years prior to her retirement.

View the news article here

Fraser Valley Child Development Centre earns Three-Year CARF Accreditation

CARF International announced that Fraser Valley Child Development Centre has been accredited for a period of three years for its Behavioral Consultation Services (Children and Adolescents), Child and Youth Services, and Family Services programs. The latest accreditation is the sixth consecutive Three-Year Accreditation that the international accrediting body, CARF, has given to Fraser Valley Child Development Centre.

This accreditation decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be given to an organization and shows the organization’s substantial conformance to the CARF standards. An organization receiving a Three-Year Accreditation has put itself through a rigorous peer review process. It has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit its commitment to offering programs and services that are measurable, accountable, and of the highest quality.

Fraser Valley Child Development Centre nonprofit organization with offices in Abbotsford and Chilliwack.  It has been providing child development services in the Fraser Valley since 1982. 

CARF is an independent, nonprofit accrediting body whose mission is to promote the quality, value, and optimal outcomes of services through a consultative accreditation process and continuous improvement services that center on enhancing the lives of the persons served. Founded in 1966 as the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and now known as CARF International, the accrediting body establishes consumer-focused standards to help organizations measure and improve the quality of their programs and services. For more information about the accreditation process, please visit the CARF website at

For additional information, contact Karen McLean, Executive Director 604-852-2686 x2227


PlayWorks is a supportive and informal drop in opportunity for families with children 0-5 years old.  It is a time for parents/caregivers to play with their child, and explore questions, concerns and successes about their child's development in a relaxed environment.  All families with young children (including young siblings) are welcome.  Each session is hosted by FVCDC staff.

The free group meets on Wednesdays from 3:30pm-5:00pm beginning September 18, 2019 at the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre.

Contact 604-852-2686 for more information.  Registration for this program is not required.

Screen Time and Children Who Have Autism: Moderation is the Key

Technology is all around us, and our children typically use it as much as we do.  Often parents really want to purchase a tablet for their child, as they have either heard that this is very beneficial for children on the spectrum, or that a tablet can be used as a communication device for their child. If the device is being used as an educational tool with specialized apps, I often caution parents to limit 'screen time,' that is time spent engaged with cell phones, tablets, laptops, televisions or other devices.

Although these devices can have many benefits, it can be challenging to find a healthy balance between children's screen time and other activities. A Kaiser Foundation Report from 2010 suggested that elementary aged children in the U.S. used entertainment technology for 7 1/2 hours per day! This fact makes me wonder: how much screen time is too much?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children spend no more than 2 hours per day on devices. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that children from the ages of 2 to 5 years have no more than an hour of screen time per day.  However, Dr. Jodi Gold in her book Screen Smart Parenting (2015)  suggests that we focus more on the content and how the technology is used than the amount of use. Although there isn't a lot of research on the impact of technology on children with autism, we do see early indications that electronics can have benefits and dangers. Many devices and programs are powerful learning tools. It is also clear, though, that human interaction is the best way to support learning, and technology should not replace social interaction. We also know that technology use reduces physical activity and affects sleep (that is, night time technology use can be overstimulating and make it harder for children to fall asleep).  There are also safety concerns related to identity theft, cyber-bullying and exposure to inappropriate content.

A limit of two hours per day of 'screen time' and parental supervision and awareness of children's technology use seems like a reasonable limit, especially for children under the age of 6.


Silent Auction Art Speaks Loudly

If there is a visual image associated with Rick Mercer, it has to be the vibrant colours of the graffiti-covered Toronto alley way where he films his weekly "rants". The birght, loud colours splashed on brick walls in a gritty back alley are the perfect backdrop for his equally loud and gritty commentaries on current events.

It is this association that led organizers of the upcoming Rick Mercer Rant and Raise to the idea of having an artist create an art piece during the event - something that would reflect both Rick's ranting voice and give voice to the famlies supported by the event. Contemparary artist Linda Klippenstein was chosen for this task and she is excited to be part of this fundraiser for the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre and Matthew's House.

I love Rick Mercer and I love both these organizations. It's a great opportunity for me to be a part of this and support this work." - Linda Klippenstein, artist


Klippenstein is a mixed-media artist who creates art in a variety of styles. For the Rick Mercer Rant and Raise she will create a piece on-site that pays homage to the vibrant voice of Mercer's rants and a piece that can be incorporated into any contemporary environment.

"The goal is to have a fabulous art piece for someone's home or office that will have a dynamic, colourful, vibrant feel", she explains.

Klippenstein has recently been exploring resin art which she will create that evening adding vibrant colours. These are poured onto a prepared canvas. At the event, she'll be working in a roped-off area with the canvas close to the ground so that guests can see the work in progress. The art piece will be sold by silent auction that evening. Klippenstein loves the way art has been incorporated into this unique fundraising event.

"People who come will be supporting two really great organizations that do important work in our community", she says. "It's gratigying to think that this artwork will go home with someone as a reminder of the evening and of the support they've given to Matthew's House and the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre. I'm so glad that my art can give voice to this work".

To see more of Klippenstein's art visit her website

A Message from our CEO's - Karyn & Karen

It is a privilege for us to be able to bring such an exciting event to our shared community and to support families in this unique way. Matthew’s House and the Fraser Valley Child Development Centre complement each other well. We share a belief that all children are born with unique strengths, gifts and needs. We believe that parents know their children best and we exist to provide support and resources to strengthen and encourage families. We believe that inclusive communities are strong communities.

This event is an opportunity for you to partner with us and ensure that these important resources will continue to be offered to families who need them. We know that an Evening with Rick Mercer will be a unique and entertaining experience.

We look forward to welcoming you and your guests to what will surely be an evening to remember.

The Value of Consistency in Parenting by Gabriel Canal Guest Blogger

During the 10 years I've been working as a Behaviour Consultant, I've heard the words "pick your battles" from educators thousands of times. What they mean is that if you see your chlid acting out, you have a choice to make: (a) you intervene and be consistent with the consequences you set, or (b) you simply do not intervene. No educator will tell you to set a boundary that you later cannot follow through on. Doing that could make your words lose the power they have, and could teach the child that she can get away with breaking the rules.

My experience has shown me that consistency is a key component in parenting. I am not only talking about the consistency between words and actions (e.g., if I say that I will give you a cookie, that I will deliver the cookie), but I am also talking about consistency in terms of responding to inappropriate behaviours.

Many times, in our work, we use a strategy called extinction (that is, extinction of the reinforcer that keeps the inappropriate behaviour going). In other words, extinction means that if a child misbehaves (e.g., screams) to obtain candy, we will not give him candy any more when he misbehaves. We know that if we are consistent with not giving the screaming child the candy, and if at the same time we consistently provide the candy when the child asks for it nicely, we will reduce screaming and increase appropriate requests for candy.

Many times, parents start implementing extinction plans and they find that the child's behaviour escalates (i.e., increases in frequency, duration, and/or intensity). With extinction, that increase is expected and it does not mean that the strategy is not working. After all, the child knows that screaming gets him candy, so he will try and try even harder, louder, or for longer periods of time. This is a crucial moment in the implementation of a behaviour plan that uses extinction. If a parent gives in and ends up giving the candy when the child screams louder or for a longer period of time, that parent might be teaching the child "if you want to get candy, screaming isn't enough, you need to scream louder or longer to get it."

Therefore, being consistent is extremely important when changing behaviour. We need to make our words match our actions, giving our words power and giving the child a reliable and consistent parent.

Gabriel Canal, Behaviour Consultant- Positive Parenting and Behaviour Support Program- FVCDC

Working on Intervention Goals at Home

Parents often ask what they can do at home to work on their child's early intervention goals. Here at Next Step Autism Program, we ask parents to identify their priorities for their child's intervention program. Together we can then look for activities at home where these priority goals can be addressed. Since young children spend more time at home with their families than anywhere else, these activities provide many more opportunities to embed teaching trials into a child's daily routine.

For example, a child may have the communication goal of requesting items or 'manding' using single words. This child's parents may have identified communication skills as a priority. So, we can brainstorm with family to see when and how teaching trials can occur at home. Mealtime is one regular activity that can provide many opportunities to request, and we can teach parents ways to work on requesting skills at that time.  When families combine teaching at home with sessions at our Centres, skills are learned more quickly, may be retained longer and are used in a greater range of situations as a result. It's a win-win!

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