Uniting Alberta's Autism Community

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New at Autism Edmonton: Launch Into Life!

Although we most often hear about autism in children, it is important to emphasize that autism does not affect just kids. Autism is a lifelong condition which does not go away in adulthood. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism. But very often, as they grow up, they struggle to fit into society, find work and live on their own.

Adults with autism face major hardships in their lives, especially in the absence of supports and services. These challenges have significant implications not only for the individuals themselves but also for their families and society at large. The following are a few examples.

  • High unemployment – It is estimated that over 80 percent of Canadians with autism are unemployed. Moreover, research shows that young adults on the spectrum are more likely to be unemployed than their peers with other disabilities.
  • Social isolation – Facing a lack of understanding from the society, people living with autism and their families often become isolated and develop mental health problems.
  • Low life expectancy and high suicide rates – For people with autism in Sweden for example, life expectancy is a mere 40 years, and suicide rates are elevated. Research in the US shows that 66 percent of adults newly diagnosed with Asperger syndrome report to having contemplated suicide.
  • High dependence on families – Most often parents are the primary caretaker, educator, and financial supporter of their children with autism. But what is going to happen to these individuals once their parents are no longer able to care for them?
  • Unfulfilled potential – Given their unique capabilities in sciences and arts, people with autism can provide unique contributions in a number of areas. When left untapped, this unfulfilled potential represents a huge loss to the society.

These challenges and unmet needs are real and deserve the recognition and attention of everyone. How can we work together to help adults with autism have the best possible quality of life? It is critical to ensure that children with autism can successfully transition into adulthood, find a job, get involved in the community, find a place to live, and continue education.
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Happy Birthday

By Jessica Pigeau
This is just one of the articles featured in our monthly e-mail newsletter, Autism Around Alberta. To read more great articles like this, subscribe to our mailing list by becoming a member, or see past issues two weeks after they’re mailed out on the Autism Around Alberta page.


It was my grandmother’s birthday yesterday. I know this because my mother sent a message telling me that it was my grandmother’s birthday. Two hours later, she sent another, more pointed message telling me to wish my grandmother a happy birthday, please. I expect to receive a similar message in April on my father’s birthday, whenever that is.

The notification system on my phone is filled with reminders: deadlines, appointments, and responsibilities. I having an elaborate series of staggered alerts to message my mother, my father, my siblings, my friends. At this moment, four are overdue, but I will sit down this afternoon and compose a few messages. I won’t ask how they are. I won’t talk about how I’ve been. I’ll report to them with interesting news or a clever joke I’ve heard and see what they make of it.

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Goals: ASA was started over 20 years ago with the goals of:
  • Improving the lives of children and adults with ASD;
  • Providing mutual support amongst families and individuals directly affected by ASD;
  • Creating safety and quality of life for people with ASD and their families in Alberta;
  • Creating a welcoming province that values the participation of people with ASD in all areas of life;
  • Recognizing the worth of every person with ASD and their contribution to society.

Who We Are: Autism Alberta is a registered society in Alberta and a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency. It is a network and collaboration amongst autism groups comprising parents of children and adults with ASD, family members, individuals with ASD, and caring community citizens. We also have a representative on the Board of Autism Society Canada to collaborate on national issues. Presently four groups are members of Autism Alberta:

We are also affiliated with Autism Canada.

Accomplishments: ASA has had representatives on provincial Advisory Boards to different Government Ministries. ASA has sponsored Autism Awareness presentations in some communities during October, Canada’s Autism Awareness Month. ASA has contributed to the development of resource materials for families, such as handouts on community resources and books on issues affecting those with ASD .

Who to Contact: Contact the ASA group closest to where you live or where you are planning to live, for information, resources, and support in Alberta. For example, if you live in Northern Alberta, contact ASEA; Southern Alberta – contact CAS, etc. Please refer to "Regional Chapters" on the left hand side.

For information and assistance with your local support group, or to join ASA please feel free to contact us at 1-877-777-7192
or email president@autismalberta.ca