In response to COVID-19, we introduced online programming so we could continue to provide support and opportunities for connection to our members. As the online space is a new medium for CAN program delivery, we sent our membership a brief poll to gain insight into preferences for virtual programming.
We received over 350 responses, representing approximately 379 members with autism from communities across British Columbia. Of those that responded:
- 76 represented participants between 3-6 years
- 160 represented participants between 7-12 years
- 93 represented participants between 13-17 years
- 50 represented participants 18 years or older
Respondents were asked about their preferred program frequency, duration of session, and days/times of the week.
- Program Frequency: The majority of members are looking for virtual programs that run over consecutive weeks – between 4-6 weeks. This was consistent across all age groups.
- Program Duration: The majority of members ages 3-12 are looking for class times that are either 30 or 45 minutes. Members ages 13+ are looking for longer classes, either 45 or 60 minutes.
- Program Timing: Responses were more varied across the different age groups. For ages 3-6, the preference is for mornings, specifically weekend mornings, and weekday evenings. For ages 7-12, responses were fairly consistent across days and times. For ages 13+, the preference is mostly for afternoons and evenings.
We asked respondents to identify which of the following program types they would be interested in: science activities, computer technology, social group, physical activity, arts/crafts, and other.
For participants 3-6 yrs: Interest was predominantly around physical activity, followed by arts/crafts.
For participants 7-12 yrs: Interest was quite spread out among the group, with physical activity, social groups, computer technology, and science activities all having similar levels of interest.
For participants 13+yrs: This group also had a wide range of interest, with the most popular activities being social groups, computer technology, and physical activity.
We received lots of positive feedback about our virtual programming and are thrilled to be able to reach remote communities with this new stream of programming . We also received feedback from participants who do not find that online programming works well for them for varied reasons.
How These Results Will Be Used
Thank you for your input! Our program team has reviewed the results and has already started incorporating feedback into the planning for the upcoming fall season.
We are very excited to add new online programs this fall, including a partnered baseball program (with an adapted equipment kit for each family that participates!), hockey clinics, and a new virtual meet-up club for preteens (ages 9-12)as well as for siblings!
We value your feedback and will continue to ask for your suggestions on new program ideas throughout the year. If you haven’t yet had a chance, please take a few minutes to complete our in-person program poll which will help guide our gradual return to in-person programming around the province.
Thank you again for your help in making CAN programs as successful as possible during this challenging time!