Building Skills For Life

Autism Services Ottawa serves young people 14 years of age and up
with High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.


1-Social Skills

Social skills classes are for teens, youth and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Classes and lessons are based on structured learning for individuals who can participate in a group setting independently. Participants who attend the social skills classes find new ways to communicate and express themselves, learn to better understand basic communication rules, better interpret social cues, and learn improved ways to interact with their peers, family and their community.

2-Social Boundaries: Straight Up!

This program uses a practical curriculum to facilitate insight into social conventions and regulations. As a result of completing the activities, participants with ASD will be better able to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

3-Cooking Club

Participants will be given a hands-on opportunity, in small group sizes, from start to finish in meal preparation. These classes are designed to teach basic cooking skills that will give young people semi-independent living skills. The focus of this program is on learning new skills, healthy affordable cooking and kitchen safety.

4-Fitness Group

Physical activity is an essential part of all teens and young adults’ foundation for a long, healthy life. Facilitators will use their fitness knowledge and integrate fun activities to help encourage and persuade teens that exercise is important to everyone’s well being. We will explore the benefits of exercise to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, improve self-esteem, boost academic performance, and establish lifelong healthy habits.

5-Unstuck and On Track

Flexibility and goal setting can be taught just like any other skills. For teens and youth with ASD, problems with flexibility and goal-directed behaviour can be a major obstacle to success in school and in everyday life.

This program will teach participants what flexibility and executive functions are.

Teens and youth will have the opportunity to develop the necessary skills to effectively manage unexpected events, cope with disappointment and frustration, keep an open mind, navigate disagreements with friends, set and achieve goals, learn how to compromise, and create a Plan B when Plan A doesn’t work any more.

6-The Zones of Regulation

This exciting new program will empower participants to develop appropriate self-regulatory strategies that will ensure success in life well beyond adolescence. Classes and lessons are based on structured learning for individuals who can participate in a group setting independently.

7-Facing Your Fears

Anxiety is one of the biggest challenges faced by teens and youth with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome. This program will help participants conquer their fears and participate more fully in home, school, employment and community life. Facing your fears has been developed to address the specific needs and challenges of participants with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

8-The Science of Making Friends

This social skills training program presents social skills needed to develop and maintain friendships. The Friendship curriculum includes several topics such as rules and steps for social skills, strategies for improving conversational skills, tips for expanding social opportunities, along with strategies for handling peer rejection and bullying.

9-PEERS: Social Skills Training for Teens and Young Adults

Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) is a 14- week evidence-based social skills intervention for motivated teens and young adults who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends.

During each group session teens are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in a session through role-playing and naturally occurring activities (ie. board games, video gaming, etc.) Parents will receive simultaneous instruction in a separate class setting where they will be taught how to assist their teens in making and keeping friends. Parents will also be expected to provide ongoing feedback and coaching to their child during the completion of weekly homework assignments.

10-Exploring Friendships, Puberty and Relationships

This program is designed to help young people on the autism spectrum cope with the many challenges of adolescence. It will encourage them to explore their identity, develop their friendships and to begin to think more about adult relationships, tackling the important related issues of puberty, sexuality, gender identity, body image, dress codes, self-care, and safety.

11-Teens and Young Adult Video Gaming Night

Join others in a fun and relaxed setting to participate in video games, chess, board games, foosball, and karaoke singing. This group is designed to bring young people together over a shared interest, at their own pace, to work on conversational skills, social confidence, and friendship building. This group is appropriate for teens and young adults that have conversational language skills and can participate independently and cooperatively in a group setting. Come and show off your skills and meet new friends who love gaming as much as you do! Participants are welcome to bring their own games, but it is not a requirement.

12-Friday Night Social Club

Join us for a fun evening of games, movies and popcorn! Friday night social club will provide teens with planned activities to socialize with others in a safe and positive environment. Participants are welcome to bring their own games, but it is not a requirement.

13-ASD Life Coaching

The daily lives of many young people with ASD are typically organized by a parent however once they transition into adulthood, individuals with ASD can be overwhelmed by the choices they must make everyday. They will need to master the skills required to make good choices and plan their day themselves. Our Autism Services believes that if young adults have the right support, they can thrive rather than just survive. This support is provided with one-on-one Life Coaching. A life coach will guide and motivate individuals with ASD in the achievement of personal objectives such as attending post secondary education, choosing careers, improving social skills and relationships, setting goals, and determining priorities.

Autism Services Ottawa consists of two streams: “Building Skills for Life” (Stream A) and “First Steps to Employment” (Stream B). You may start in our “Building Skills for Life” stream or go directly into our “First Steps to Employment” stream depending on the support you may need to work towards competitive employment.

No matter where you start, Autism Services Ottawa, starts with the person and then engages employers through an interest-based negotiation revealing the benefits for both parties of hiring a specific job seeker.

Fees for the Building Skills for Life sessions can be found on the Program Calendar. Life Coaching sessions are $45 per hour.

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