Case Studies

Canucks Autism Network (CAN)

Autism Awareness for First Responders

The Client

The Canucks Autism Network’s (CAN) mission is to provide recreation programs for individuals and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia.

Key Project Features

The Need for Change

Individuals with autism are much more likely to require the service of first responders, but first responders often aren’t trained to know their needs. Canucks Autism Network (CAN) wanted to help with this problem. They designed a face-to-face training course to fill in the knowledge gap. The course was widely embraced, but there was another problem: growing demand outstripped resources. For one, it wasn’t possible to send facilitators all over the province to provide the required training, nor was scheduling an easy task. More importantly, there was a real sense of urgency: the longer it took to share this knowledge, the higher the risk individuals with autism wouldn’t get the best service possible.

The Path for Change

After many collaborative discussions, PathWise and CAN determined the following path for change:

  • the most essential elements of the face-to-face training would
    be crafted into an hour-long, custom-made eLearning course
  • stories would be collected from first responders and others who had experience working with individuals with autism
  • scenarios would be crafted to ensure training was practical, engaging, and relevant

The Approach

PathWise created a one-of-a-kind eLearning experience for CAN using Articulate 360, designed to run on multiple devices and platforms including laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.


Each challenge immersed the learner in a real-life scenario. This approach made relevant learning the focus and drove the learner to search for information needed to solve problems. Tokens and badges were received as each challenge was completed.


We wanted to engage the learners in “real world,” relevant situations that would maximize learning. To do this, we built the course around four challenges.

For each challenge, there were three layers of decision-making:

  • identifying possible signs of autistic behaviour
  • researching these behaviours
  • creating a support strategy for how to approach the individual in need

In order to make decisions, an array of resources were provided for the learner to use at will. All these factors made for a very interactive course.


We conducted hours of video interviews with:

  • experienced first responders
  • parents of children with autism
  • parents of children with autism

In these interviews, we collected powerful and direct insights and stories. We then edited these stories into video clips that could anchor the structure of the course.


The result is a course that engages the learner by requiring them to search for answers rather than read through material in a purely theoretical way. This emphasizes the real-life nature of the problems and the need for first responders to learn by doing. The course has had excellent reception and, most importantly, PathWise was able to meet CAN’s need to ensure that the knowledge for how to serve this valuable part of society is widely accessible. The course is now being used across Canada as well as internationally.