Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

How do I get started? / How do I sign up for activities?

Click "Become a Member" and create a website profile. Once we receive this form, our family coordinator will contact you and get you approved on the website and ready to sign up for activities.

Keep in mind, you will not be able to see the detailed Event Calendar until you are an approved member on the website!

What happens on the day of an activity?

On the day of the activity, parents are responsible for dropping off and picking up their child or youth at the designated location as described along with the event on the website. The website will specify the times and locations that each activity will be beginning and ending at. When you drop off your child, please sign them in on the activity sheet held by the staff that will be greeting you, and check that our contact phone number on file for your family is the one that we will be able to use to contact you during the activity time.

Phone numbers for the staff member who is listed as 'family contact' for the activity are available in the activity details should families need to contact thirty minutes prior to, during, or thirty minutes after the activity.

The family contact is unable to answer while driving or attending to youth.

What if I have to cancel for an event I have registered for?

If you need to cancel for an event, you may do so through e-mail by contacting please remember that we do have a 48 hour cancellation policy in place to allow for adequate time to fill empty activity spaces from our waitlists and otherwise the respite charge will still be billed if the 48 hour notice requirement is not met.

Fees, Transport, and Funding

What fees are associated with your programs?

We charge an hourly service fee for all of our programs. These hourly fees are in place for respite care, community aide support and/or work related child care (and the cost will be dependent on the type of care). The hourly service fees can be covered by FSCD or PDD if a contract is in place. If you do not have FSCD or PDD funding in place, please see their websites for details and contact the Autism Calgary Association for support with the FSCD or PDD funding processes.



Are there fees other than respite/community access costs?

Yes, there are often additional fees for our daily activities.

Activity Fees these are the cost of things like pool admission, movie tickets, lunch, etc.

Clubhouse Fees our clubhouse fee is a suggested rate of $20.00 per session for activities held at our clubhouse. The clubhouse fee helps cover costs such as snacks, art supplies, video games, board games, cooking supplies and everything we need to continue to make our clubhouse the best place it can be.

Registration Fees these fees are required for specialized programs and go directly back into the program and the costs associated with running them. For example, the registration fee from the movie project helps cover the cost of hiring a professional filmmaker and also helps to buy large assets like a Video Camera.

Transportation Fees transport fees will be listed for certain activities and go towards the cost of renting busses, gas, and maintenance of our mini vans.

A portion of these additional fees may be covered by subsidy. Contact AAFS for more information about our subsidy program.

Our AAFSter School and AAFS Friday program daily fees are $25. This fee covers transportation, snacks and administration. 

What if we don’t have funding?

If you do not qualify for PDD or FSCD funding, AAFS programming is still available. Please contact us for more details and we will do our best to help you and your family receive the care that you need.

I have funding but can’t afford the cost of activities (admission, lunch, transit passes)

Please do not let the cost of activities prevent your child from accessing AAFS. Please contact us for details on subsidy.

How does transportation work?

On trips out of town or on days with a large number of staff and youth we will often use school buses driven by transport companies. For movement within an activity, for example, from gymnastics to Boston Pizza, we will use staff vehicles. Have no fear, as all staff have adequate insurance for transporting youth.

What if my child cannot stay for the entire activity?

We are always able to adapt our programming to suit your child's needs. For example - If your child is only able to swim for an hour, then we will be able to have one of our staff get them out of the pool and meet you at the drop-off point when you are ready. Please let us know when RSVP'ing for an activity what your specific needs are so that we are able to staff the activity appropriately.

Programming, Staff, and Age Groups

What are specialized programs at AAFS?

Specialized programs aim to engage and develop special interests and talents in our youth. These programs include education and experience in the fields of art, drama, film, extreme sports, and music. These programs require a regular RSVP from members and usually run one night a week for four to six months. In the past, our specialized programs have included The AAFS Movie Project, Arts-Based Self Advocacy, Video Games Design, Visual Art and Dance.

Who are your staff? What is the ratio of staff to youth?

AAFS activities are supervised by our exuberant and talented Social Experience Guides or SEG's. All of our staff have training within ASD, First Aid (Level C), up-to-date criminal record checks, and proper insurance for transporting youth during activities by vehicle. The ratio of staff to youth is never above 2:1 and is based on the needs of each member and the specific requirements of the activity.

My child needs 1:1 care - are you able to provide that?

We are able to provide 1:1 care if it is included in the RSVP request and subsequently planned for ahead of time. Our staff are familiar with providing 1:1 care with individuals who possess varying levels of need. We are familiar with non-verbal communication methods including PECS symbols and electronic devices. We assess the needs of each child individually with the hope of eventually phasing out 1:1 care and encouraging independence within the community. If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us.

Will my child be with other youth like him/her?

AAFS is open to children, youth, and adults of all ages and abilities! Our goal is to provide a space for youth to meet peers that they connect with, but we also see the value in establishing a community for ASD youth where they can help one another without the need for our support. Your child will have every opportunity to meet and foster relationships with those that understand them and share common interests and challenges. The simple answer is a resounding yes.

What are the age groups?

AAFS is a wholly inclusive organization offering activities for all age groups and ability levels. Most of our activities are conducted in a way that makes them approachable and interesting for individuals all the way from childhood to adulthood, like our days at Calaway Park, or at OLQP Ranch. Yet we do offer age-specific programming as well, like with the Little Autism Aspergers Friendship Society (aka LAAFS) running activities specifically for youth 4-9 years of age, and the Fellowship Club offering activities exclusively for youth over 16. There are even more adult-oriented programs available only to members over the age of 18, such as group dinners or wing nights at the local pub.

Do you provide Before and After Care?

YES! We are happy to provide before and after care for all of our activities, especially during the summer. Please let us know when registering for an event if you are interested in before or after care.

Can siblings attend activities as well?

We do allow siblings to attend AAFS Programs under some circumstances. However, there are various parameters and models. We do charge an hourly fee for siblings to attend which can be negotiated based on (age, level of support needed, potential of being a volunteer etc.). A couple of things that are important; (1) The sibling cannot take away a spot from an AAFS member (2) Siblings under the age of 13 are billed at the regular AAFS Respite rate (3) Sibling attending needs the approval of their AAFS Member sibling.  

Please contact the applicable AAF Program Coordinator for details and an answer to your situation. 

Can I come with my child?

Because we are funded under the understanding that we are providing respite for parents and families, we are not able to accommodate family members at activities. We do understand that family members may want to see the activity in progress and determine whether their child is a good fit at their first activity however we are only able to offer a space for parents to ask questions and stick around for the first few minutes of the activity. We recommend that the first activity signed up for is in line with the already-discovered interests of the child, and occurs at our clubhouse or another environment where transportation or admission costs are not involved.

Do you provide assessment/support groups or treatment?

We do not provide assessment or diagnosis. Support groups and general questions about treatment, diagnosis, and other resources available should be directed to the Autism Calgary Association(ACA). We partner with ACA on a regular basis, and see them as a vastly important agency for any of our families to connect with. Please see their website for more details: Autism Calgary Association.

My child has difficult behaviours. Is he/she welcome to be part of AAFS?

Our staff have worked with a wide range of behaviours, many that would be considered difficult or troublesome. This is of no concern, because everyone is welcome to become a member, and there is never a point in which a youth is 'kicked-out' of our programming. We work with the youth and their families to make sure that all of our members are having their needs met at AAFS.

Autism Aspergers Friendship Society of Calgary

Charitable Organization 862472230RR0001

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