The Sinneave Family Foundation

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Tel: (403) 210-5000
Address: 3rd Floor, 3820-24th Ave NW Calgary Alberta



About

The Sinneave Family Foundation
The Sinneave Family Foundation (SFF or the Foundation) is dedicated to developing evidence-informed initiatives that will build successful futures for adolescents and adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Foundation’s 10-year plan focuses on five key areas: information and resource navigation, life and work skills, long-term accommodation and wrap-around services, improving skills of caregivers and other professionals and informing government policy.

SFF is focusing its efforts on programs, research and supports with the vision that every adolescent and adult in Canada with ASD can be supported in realizing their highest level of independence and quality of life. Our core purpose is achieved through enabling partnerships and collaborations with individuals, organizations and governments resulting in openly shared promising practices that foster innovation.

The Foundation’s first initiative in support of the 10-year plan was to fund the construction, operation and staffing of The Ability Hub.

The Ability Hub

The Ability Hub is a 17,000 square foot space located on the 3rd floor of the University of Calgary’s, Child Development Centre, in Calgary, Alberta. The Ability Hub enables the development, evaluation and export of innovative programs, which focus on developing the increasing independence of adolescents and adults with an ASD diagnosis. This is achieved by collaborating and partnering with other organizations to apply evidence-informed approaches that address issues affecting those with ASD, in particular during the transition to adulthood. The Ability Hub location houses core activities, demonstration programs and sponsored programs.

Program Description

The Sinneave Family Foundation
The Sinneave Family Foundation (SFF or the Foundation) is dedicated to developing evidence-informed initiatives that will build successful futures for adolescents and adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The Foundation’s 10-year plan focuses on five key areas: information and resource navigation, life and work skills, long-term accommodation and wrap-around services, improving skills of caregivers and other professionals and informing government policy.

SFF is focusing its efforts on programs, research and supports with the vision that every adolescent and adult in Canada with ASD can be supported in realizing their highest level of independence and quality of life. Our core purpose is achieved through enabling partnerships and collaborations with individuals, organizations and governments resulting in openly shared promising practices that foster innovation.

The Foundation’s first initiative in support of the 10-year plan was to fund the construction, operation and staffing of The Ability Hub.

The Ability Hub
The Ability Hub is a 17,000 square foot space located on the 3rd floor of the University of Calgary’s, Child Development Centre, in Calgary, Alberta. The Ability Hub enables the development, evaluation and export of innovative programs, which focus on developing the increasing independence of adolescents and adults with an ASD diagnosis. This is achieved by collaborating and partnering with other organizations to apply evidence-informed approaches that address issues affecting those with ASD, in particular during the transition to adulthood. The Ability Hub location houses core activities, demonstration programs and sponsored programs.

The Ability Hub Core Activities
The Ability Hub Resource Centre and Ambassador Program
The Ability Hub Resource Centre is focused on ensuring Canadian families, caregivers, professionals and individuals impacted by ASD have access to current and credible information and navigation support.

The Resource Centre is operated by Ambassadors, who are parents or siblings of individuals with ASD. They provide one-on-one support to families living with ASD.

Ambassadors are available to meet with in person, on a walk-in basis, by e-mail or by phone to help with specific information searches and to talk about all things related to ASD. The Resource Centre offers access to a collection of resources that is continuously being upgraded and expanded. These include books, academic articles, brochures, a database of service providers, evening workshops and other materials. The Resource Centre team is working with organizations in Winnipeg, Kelowna, and Edmonton to offer local services using components of The Ability Hub model.

Launch – Developing a Skills-Focused Lifespan Toolkit
The Launch program focuses on discovering personal strengths and areas of growth based on an individual’s interests, abilities and needs. The Launch clinical team helps develop individualized transition plans based on 3 key questions: 1) Where are we now? (Assessment), 2) Where do we want to go? (Goal Setting), and 3) How do we get there? (Implementation). We create and guide transition plans that focus on multiple domains including health and well-being, education and employment, communication and social relationships, independent living skills and self-advocacy

The Ability Hub Demonstration Programs
Pre-employment Training Programs
This pre-employment training program for adolescents and young adults with ASD will focus on serving two populations through two streams of program delivery:

  • Stream 1 – Youth/young adults between 15 and 21 years of age – CommunityWorks Canada®
  • Stream 2 – Young adults between 21 and 29 years of age – Currently in development

CommunityWorks Canada® (CWC) was initially developed at the Southwest Autism Resource and Research Center (SARRC) in Phoenix, Arizona. CWC builds on an innovative peer mentorship program that offers employment readiness training and volunteer experience in the community to adolescents and young adults with ASD. It is premised on a model of engaging participants with ASD and peer mentors using an evidence-informed social and behavioural framework.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities Program. Additional funding is also being provided by The Sinneave Family Foundation and Autism Speaks Canada.
PEERS® (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Social Skills)
PEERS® is an evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated adolescents (ages 13-18) and young adults (ages 18 to 26) who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends.

Pursuits – Filling the Gaps to Ensure Life Success
Too many young people with autism graduate from high school and end up living in their parents’ basements. Pursuits programs are designed to develop independent living and job readiness skills and are delivered over 11 week sessions in the Fall, Winter and Spring. Programs are operated out of The Ability Hub in partnership with the Society for Treatment of Autism (STA).
Recruits – Preparing for Employment Success
Estimates of the unemployment rate for individuals with ASD vary between 70% and 85% versus 8% for the general population. With the right training and job fit, the rate of employment success for individuals with ASD is comparable (and in some areas higher) than neuro-typical employees. The Recruits programs put learned skills into practice through job-related initiatives. Recruits is offered as a partnership between STA and SFF.

SFF and STA currently operate a café, offer a number of community-based work experience programs and have recently completed a Prep Cook Certificate Program pilot project in partnership with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.
Adult Community Day Program
The Janus Academy/Ability Hub Adult Community Day Program pilot was created by six families who wanted an alternative to the standard Service Agency or individual Family Managed Services (FMS) day programs in Alberta. With permission from the Government of Alberta, these families consolidated their funding and engaged Janus Academy to set up a high quality community inclusion program. The program is based out of The Ability Hub with Janus Academy managing the hiring, training, and supervision of staff. This sustainable model has tremendous outcomes and does not cost more than individual FMS contracts. After the initial pilot of 18 months the Government of Alberta supported an extension of the existing pilot and expansion in both Calgary and Edmonton.
Stepping Out – A Brain Health Partnership with Hayley Wickenheiser and the University of Calgary
This university program matches individuals with ASD with volunteer university peer mentors who are student athletes and/or have kinesiology backgrounds to conduct “Olympic Style” work outs. Participants experience many benefits including weight loss, improved coordination, and social development.

The Ability Hub Sponsored Programs
Meticulon and Spectrum Advantage
Meticulon and Spectrum Advantage are projects aimed at improving the employment prospects of persons with autism by providing training and job opportunities in the information technology (IT) sector. Meticulon and Spectrum Advantage were developed and are supported by a partnership with Autism Calgary, the Government of Canada and SFF.

Areas of Focus
  • Informal
Ages of Mentees
  • 11-15
  • 16-18
Special Populations
  • Children/Youth with a Disability
  • Girls/Women
  • Boys/Men

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