Society for Treatment of Autism

We provide individualized treatment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families so that they can participate fully and lead meaningful lives with the goal to support those we serve to achieve their maximum potential.

Our Story Why We Exist

In 1972, a group of parents appealed to then Premier Peter Lougheed, to build a residential facility for children with autism. As a result, a side by side duplex was purchased next to the original Alberta Children’s Hospital in S.W. Calgary. Following renovations, the facility opened in 1973, with 6 children being accepted into the program from the Psychiatric and Education Centre at the hospital. It was named Margaret House in honour of Dr. Margaret Horne, who worked with the children and families at that time.

Since then, the Society for Treatment of Autism (STA) has grown to provide comprehensive treatment, education and consulting services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). 

Our Impact What We Do

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that impactsing developing children. Individuals with ASD have significant social interaction and communication challenges and tend to display restricted, repetitive behaviours. Symptom expression can range from mild or subtle to severe and obvious. It is for this reason that Autism is considered a Spectrum Disorder.

Research suggests ASD is rooted in early brain development and that symptoms/characteristics tend to emerge before the child’s third birthday.  A number of factors that negatively impact brain development have been linked to ASD (e.g., genetics, neuropathology, metabolic conditions, etc.).

Programs and our Treatment Philosophy 

We are unique in that our programs focus specifically on meeting the needs of children, youth and adults with ASD and their families, regardless of age, functioning level or behavioral presentation.  We provide a range of services that are individualized to meet needs across the life span through programs that are designed to maximize each individual’s potential. 

Individual programs focus on skill development within a variety of functional areas, including Behaviour, Communication, Socialization, Play/Recreation/Vocational, Foundation Skills/School Readiness, Self Help/Adaptive Functioning. 

Individuals enrolled in one of our programs may receive consultation from members of our multidisciplinary team, including:

  • Psychologists/Provisional Psychologists/Behavioural Consultants
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Teachers
  • Social Workers

Research

Since 2010, STA has been conducting small-scale clinical research to measure treatment fidelity (the degree to which a treatment is implemented as intended) for the CBO early intervention program. Before treatement, goals are individually determined for each child, pathways to achieve the goals are standardized and are monitored using these treatment fidelity checks. Our most recent quarterly check indicated the CBO Early Intervention Program had 96% fidelity, well above the recommended minimum of 80%!

The majority of research investigations to date have involved social-communication outcomes from our CBO Early Intervention Program and personal and vocational training program outcomes for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder from our Adult and Adolescent: Pursuits and Recruits programs. Results from these studies and evaluations have been presented at a variety of national and international conferences and conventions.

Potential areas for future research may include:

  • Effective use of visual supports to develop language in preschoolers
  • Effectiveness of mealtime supports to increase food tolerance and/or repertoire in preschoolers
  • Effectiveness of transdisciplinary treatment in managing challenging behaviours in older children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Parent and professional perspectives related to transdisciplinary versus multidisciplinary treatment

Our Programs How We Do It

Our Services - We operate a range of programs in and around the city of Calgary. These programs are designed to meet the needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders:

Community Based Options - Early Intervention Programs (404 - 94th Ave SE Calgary, AB 403-253-2291)

  • Combined Specialized Services and Program Unity Funding (PUF) Program

Offers an individualized program for children 2.5 to 6 years of age, who are approved for both Specialized Services funding (via Family Supports for Children with Disabilities) and Program Unit Funding (via Alberta Education). Individualized programming is provided in the child's home, community (e.g., outings, recreation programs, preschools, Kindergarten) and within a specialized classroom environment onsite at STA; with focus on the individual learning needs of the children and their families. This program runs twelve months a yaer, 30 hours per week.

  • Specialized Services ONLY Program

Offers individual programs for children less than 3 years who are approved for Specialized Services funding via Family Support for Children with Disabilities and do not qualify (due to their age) for a PUF program, Individualized Programming is provided in the child's home, and community. Hours are based on the individual need of the child and family.

Husky Energy Centre for Autism - Residential Treatment Programs (404 - 94th Ave SE Calgary, AB 403-253-2291)

  • Residential Treatment Program (Out of Home Placement)

The Residential program provides a home for children in a therapeutic living environment (i.e., Husky Energy Centre for Autism). Treatment programming is individualized and implemented by Behaviour Therapists. Each child must participate in some type of day program, which typically entails attending school in the community, in order to enter and remainin the Residential Program. Integration with peers is actively promoted through participation in a wide variety of community sports and leisure activities. Our summer daycamp program is available to residential children during the school summer break period.

  • Therapeutic Aftercare

The Therapeutic Aftercare program offers afterschol and/or weekend treatment for children/youth. Depending on needs, services are provided in the family home and /or at the residential facility.

Pursuits/Recruits - Adolescent and Adult Services (Ability Hub (3rd Floor) 3820 - 24th Ave NW Calgary, AB 403-210-5000)

  • Pursuits programs focus on increasing personal independence, developing early vocational and job skills, and preparation for the post secondary envivironment. Most of the programs are hosted on site at the Ability Hub, 3rd floor, Child Development Centre, 3820 - 24 Ave. NW with the exception of the Volunteer for Life program, which takes place at businesses in the community.
  • Recruits programs are designed to provide individuals with supported work experience at a variety of community locations. Participants are given the same training as entry level employees, and develop both job specific skills and the more "hidden agenda" of social expectations in an employment setting. To be eligible for any of these community placements, the individual must have attended and completed at least one Pursuits program previously.

Community Education and Consultative Services (404 - 94th Ave SE Calgary, AB 403-253-2291)

Society for Treatment of Autism offers a variety of services in addition to our programs. Consultative services are resource dependent and may be available upon request.

Our Requests What You Can Do

While we would like to be able to treat more children, our service capacity is dictated by funding. In this regard, the Government of Alberta has stepped up to ensure that individuals with ASD in the province receive the best treatment services possible.

However, we rely on community support to continue to grow and develop our services. With the help of a very supportive community of partners and donors, we have created and sustained successful treatment and educational services over the year. The creation of every one of our programs was lead by community requests in response to changing needs and we are continually growing.

Our future expansion plans:

  • an intensive small group residential treatment program for high need adolescents and young adults
  • a small group residential transition program for individuals ready to move into less intensive community environments

Ways you can support STA:

Work with us

We are always looking for new team members. Take a look at our job listings to see if STA is the right fit for you.

Donate

Donate today to support individuals with ASD and their families and future research about ASD.

Potential areas for future research include:

  • Effective use of visual supports to develop language in preschoolers
  • Effectiveness of mealtime supports to increase food tolerance and/or repertoire in preschoolers
  • Effectiveness of transdisciplinary treatment in managing challenging behaviours in older children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Parent and professional perspectives related to transdisciplinary versus multidisciplinary treatment

You can also turn your vehicle donation into generous dollars to support us. Donate a Car Canada will accept your vehicle for donation - running, or not! Old or new!

Contact

Dave Mikkelsen
Executive Director
403.258.5500
Charitable Number: 132329541RR0001

Donate Now

Finance & Governance

Annual Operating Budget: 
$ 9,971,525
Calgary