Autism Perspectives Workshop with Dr.Skinner May 29, 2016 7-9pm

Attend an informative session on the core elements of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This lecture is ideal for adults who believe they may be on the spectrum, as well as their loved ones. This session is offered approximately every 3 months.

Please note that attending this session is a requirement for seeing Dr. Gregory Skinner for an Adult Autism Assessment.

Autism Calgary – 3639 26 street NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 5E1 – View Map
The session is free as part of your Alberta health care. Please bring your Alberta Health Care card.
You must register to attend.

Eventbrite - Autism Perspectives - Intro to Autism by Dr. Greg Skinner at Autism Calgary April 3






What in the World is Going On? June 2016 Edition

Source: Blog from


How do I use technology and apps effectively for a person with an ASD?

Tech devices such as iPads, and iPhones have become increasingly popular for assisting people on the autism spectrum. There are lots of positives going for technology and apps: people on the spectrum often enjoy using tech devices, there is some autonomy, it takes the pencil out of the process to demonstrate learning, there are 1000’s of apps to teach a myriad of skills, and their use can be both motivating and rewarding. Nonverbal individuals have another way to express themselves. These tech devices are also becoming more affordable all the time. But is there a down side?

The cons of technology for those with autism

Daniel Donahoo wrote an interesting blog about the iPad and autism for Wired magazine some years ago that brought up important points. He stated in his blog,

“the potential of the iPad is not achieved by the iPad alone, nor by simply placing it in the hands of a child with autism. The potential of the device is realized by the way professionals like speech pathologists, educators, occupational therapists and early childhood development professionals apply their skills and knowledge to use the iPad to effectively support the development of children. The potential is realized by engaged parents working with those professionals to explore how the device best meets the individual needs of their child.”

He does talk about the use of iPads as being a stim for some people with ASD, and not a learning tool, if used excessively or without supervision. Mr. Donahoo also points out that not all families can afford an iPad and therefore feel they are missing out. Over time, more support programs will likely become available, as the price of these devices is decreasing each year, (remember how expensive VCR’s were when they first came out or digital cameras?)

I also came across this interesting blog post, written by a dad of five children, debating the points that Mr. Donahoo brought up in his blog. I liked his response to Donahoo’s statement that while no two children with autism are alike and can use the iPad in the same way, this dad feels that schools can take this single platform and use it in a variety of ways and settings (i.e. social skills, scheduling, time management). Like any intervention though, there has to be some education and purpose behind what is being used with the person with autism.

Finally, there has been research done recently that has found that night time use of tech devices may cause sleep disturbances. As with anything, it is important to maintain boundaries around it’s use and timing.

How could we be using technology and apps to help support those with autism?

Get Social: As I wrote in an early blog post, while people with autism are attracted to, and using technology, it’s not necessarily working to help develop their social skills. That is a missed opportunity.  Social Media is a great place for those who might be less verbal etc…to develop some social skills in a controlled environment. SLPAnna Vagin has been doing some great work in this area. She has published two books on this topic – Movie Time Social Learning and YouCue Feelings. Anna also writes a blog that you can sign up for on the social media topic .

Explore Apps: there are now thousands of apps out there. It can be hard to know which ones should you use, when and with whom. In choosing any app, it has to be reviewed first. Look at the language level and difficulty of the app. Is there a lot of text which may not support a non-reader? Are the visuals clear and easy to understand? Are you using the app to target a specific skill? What is the reason for using this app with a certain person? Does the instructor needs additional support or training before introducing this app? These are valid questions to ask. Just because someone says they are using an app and it’s great doesn’t mean it will suit every individual.

There was an excellent article written in the New York Times in their Gadgetwise section that provided great sites for apps that have been reviewed and assessed. One site that stands out is Apps for Children with Special Needs. Two other great resources are the books Apps For Autism which was recently revised and expanded, andTechnology Tools for Students with Autism  both of which offer comprehensive lists of tools, apps, and also recommendations for use.

While the use of technology should not be a substitute for human interaction, it can provide another learning platform. There are many tech choices, affordable or free apps, and excellent websites which can provide individuals with a chance to work at their own pace, reinforce, and allow for repetition which is key in acquiring new knowledge and skills. We live in a high-tech world and it’s important that people on the autism spectrum can feel comfortable, familiar, manage and function in this world.

Tags: apps for autismiPads and autismlife skillstechnology and autism.

Volunteers Needed for the Autism Calgary Casino Sept 5 & 6 at the Cash Casino

Volunteers are needed for our upcoming Casino on September 5th & 6th at the Cash Casino: 4040 Blackfoot Trail SE map

Please click on the button below to sign up for a position. You can sign up for more than one shift but you can not change positions.

Eventbrite - Autism Calgary Casino

The Casino brings in a significant amount of money for our organization. It will help us provide the best service to YOU our members.

Thank you so much! We can’t do this event without you!

Category: Autism Community Events, Blog, Main Page · Tags:

What in the World is Going On? May 2016 Edition

Source: Blog from

new study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden recently published in The British Journal of Psychiatry, revealed that the risk of premature death is about 2.5 times higher for people with autism spectrum disorder than for the rest of the population. The mean age of death for someone with autism is 54 compared with 70 for the general population. For people with autism and a learning disability, the mean age drops to 40.

Three Main Causes Of Early Death in Autism

#1 Epilepsy: For those with autism and a learning disability, epilepsy is the leading cause of premature death. The Epilepsy Society has started an “Avoidable Deaths” campaign and sites a major national clinical audit that found that 39% of deaths from epilepsy could have been avoided. Prevention measures include: prevention and control with lifestyle changes and medications, knowledge and education of those around you so they can help minimize risk during and after a seizure, and seizure management and preparation if you have any warning signs like halos etc…

#2 Suicide: Sadly, for  those who don’t have a learning disability, the leading cause of early death is suicide. Dr. Hirvikoski, lead researcher of this study, says we need to promote further research in this long-neglected field. She also emphasizes that “we do not need to wait” to act on the findings: her clinic has already taken steps to identify suicide risks and take preventive measures. Dr. Hirvakoski says that for patients with ASD who don’t have a learning disability, “clinical guidelines for suicidal patients must be followed”.

#3 Heart Problems and Cancer: People with autism are also are a greater risk for heart problems and cancers. There is already a strong link between epilepsy and heart disease, but as yet no research has suggested that the same link applies to ASD. It is still not clear if people with autism are more susceptible to these illnesses, or if there is a lack of awareness of these problems among health professionals resulting in delays and inadequacies in diagnosis and treatment.

Altogether this study has highlighted that we still need to learn so much more about ASD in order to insure the best quality of life for our loved ones on the spectrum. John Spiers, the Chief Executive for a national Autism charity in the UK, Autistica, has stated that the foundation is raising 10 million dollars towards looking into this discrepancy. In a perfect summation of this new research he said:

“This new research confirms the true scale of the hidden mortality crisis in autism…The inequality in outcomes for autistic people shown in this data is shameful. We cannot accept a situation where many autistic people will never see their 40th birthday.”

Autism Calgary Member Summer Party – Saturday, June 4th

When – Saturday, June 4th from 10am-4pm

Location – Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch – 258 Mountain Lion Dr, Bragg Creek, AB map

click here to register

Please register by May 19th, 2016. (The Ranch needs our list two weeks prior to the event for Insurance purposes).


A free lunch of hot dogs, chips and pop is provided by Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch. Autism Calgary will bring fruit trays, veggie trays and cookies. You are welcome to bring your own food if you have any food sensitivities or allergies.

Trail rides are for 10 years old and over. Lead around rides are available for 6-9 years old or for those needing assistance.

Upon arrival you must register for some of the activities such as horseback riding, hiking and canoeing.

All families are reminded to bring sun protection gear- hats, sun block, and cover up in case of weather changes. The Walton Hall does have some indoor games if required due to weather conditions.

Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch (OLQP) is a non-profit organization located in Bragg Creek, Alberta. It was founded in 1988, with a vision to enable children 0-18 who are physically, mentally or financially challenged to have an outdoor ranch experience. Children will have access to opportunities such as horseback riding, hiking, fishing, canoeing and a BBQ hotdog lunch. Facilities within this ranch include the OK Corral, Walton Hall, (where the lunch will be served). Other areas include an accessible playground and pontoon boat, swimming dock, teepee’s. There is also the Trading Post (which sells clothing for any last minute purchases), and Westmont Field, where there is space for running around.




Autism Calgary does not support, endorse or recommend any method, treatment, product, remedial center, program or person for people with autism or autism related conditions. It does, however, endeavour to inform because it believes in the right to have access to the information available and to make individual choices.

Our Events

I Have Autism

"I have Autism. I may not look unusual, but I experience the world much differently than you do. Autism makes it difficult for me to communicate with you, and sometimes causes me to have unusual behaviour. I am doing my very best. Please be patient with me and my caregivers, who are trying to give me a full and happy life."