How We Do It
To accomplish our mission we have several program streams and initiatives:
1. Family Support: Autism Calgary works one-on-one with families and individuals living with ASD to support them and advocate for them in a variety of ways. Our Family Support team are all parents of children and adults with ASD who can help you navigate the school, government or service system and also lend a listening ear. We have now expanded this program to also include:
a. ASD Adult Support: support, information, referrals and advocacy specifically for adults living with high functioning ASD.
b. Calgary Coop Community Pantry: Autism Calgary is spearheading a new community pantry for low income individuals and families living with ASD. Other food resources and foodbanks in Calgary are often extremely difficult to access for these individuals and families leaving them without food and household essentials.
2. Support Groups: We run many support groups such as Keeping It Together (Mothers of Children with ASD), Carers (Caregivers of adults with ASD), Asperger’s Network Support Groups (adults with Asperger’s Syndrome/High Functioning ASD), Father’s Autism Network Support Group and the Biomedical Support Group (discussing and sharing alternative treatment options for ASD.
3. Public and Community Education: Autism Calgary also hosts regular, complimentary workshops about ASD and how to support those with ASD for schools, community groups and workplaces. We also have the largest Autism-specific resource library in Canada with free access for all members.
4. Peer-2-Peer Networking: With a variety of social opportunities and groups Autism Calgary strives to foster peer-to-peer networks for youth and adults with ASD. The Pokemon club is a popular group for youth and adults which meets twice monthly to play Pokemon cards and socialize in a safe environment. Autism Calgary rents the warm swimming pool at Vecova every Sunday evening as a free swim time for members. Also, Autism Calgary hosts a number of social, community and informational events annually for our members to come together as a community. These inlcude our World Autism Awareness Day Celebration in Olympic Plaza on April 2, our December Holiday Party, our Summer Party and educational Parent Panel Events.
5. Employment Initiatives: Recently Autism Calgary has also become a leader in the Autism employment scene starting two successful initiatives to employ adults with ASD. Meticulon Consulting, started by ACA, is now its own social enterprise employing 17 consultants with ASD. Meticulon, which was originally a program under Autism Calgary, is now a successful software testing firm in Calgary. Spectrum Advantage is a one-of-a-kind program to provide life skills and employment readiness training as well as paid internships to young adults with ASD which finds over 80% of participants with ongoing employment at the end of their participation.