What are Skills Groups?

Skills Groups are skill development workshops that are facilitated by two Sinneave staff members (one is an autistic self-advocate). In each 90-minute workshop, participants learn a variety of strategies that are foundational to success in various aspects of daily life. They are then given opportunities to practice the strategies with the support of the facilitators and other group members.

Skills Group sessions happen once a week for six consecutive weeks.

Our current Skills Groups support the development of:

  • Executive Functioning
  • Working with difficult thoughts and feelings using Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT)

*Click on the accordions below to learn more about the content covered in each Skills Group.

Because we keep the groups small, Skills Groups are in high demand. Enrolment is limited to 4-6 participants per group and individuals may only register for one group at a time to allow for the greatest participation.

Skills Groups are best suited for autistic and neurodiverse individuals who

  • Are 15 years of age and older.
  • Self-identify (or have been diagnosed) as being neuro-diverse and/or autistic.
  • Are able to commit to 6 weeks of programming (90 minutes to 2 hours) once weekly.
  • Are interested in learning and practicing key strategies that can have a positive impact on their daily routines.
  • Can communicate verbally.
  • Are willing to practice reflecting and sharing their thoughts with the group.
  • Can reliably and independently participate in a group setting (e.g., arrive on time, communicate with group leader if you are unable to attend, do not require a one-to-one assistant).
  • Will commit to keeping an open mind, and actively participating in program activities.
  • Have reliable transportation arrangements to and from the program
  • OR
  • For skills groups presented via video conferencing, have access to the following technology: computer, latest version of the Zoom application downloaded, microphone, speaker, and webcam. A cell phone will not be sufficient.

If you can answer “Yes” to each of the statements above, our Skills Groups may be a good fit for you.

How Do I Apply?

All applications are completed online. The online application portal opens three weeks before the start of the next Skills Group. To see the dates and times of upcoming Skills Groups and when the application window opens and closes, please click here to be directed to our Events Calendar. 

When the application window is open, the link to apply will be LIVE on this page. (If you don’t see a link, we are not currently accepting applications.)

If you would like to be considered for participating in a Skills Group, click the LIVE link to apply. Please make sure to indicate which Skills Group is your highest priority. Once your application is reviewed, you will be contacted to confirm your enrolment in the next available session.

Note: Skills Groups are not intended for support workers, aides, caregivers, or other professionals. SFF offers workshops on a regular basis that are open to all.

If you would like more information about a particular group, please contact us at 403-210-5000 or info@sinneavefoundation.org to book an Information and Navigation meeting to learn about other programs and services.

Do you:
  • Struggle with unexpected changes?
  • Have trouble getting started, or maybe have trouble stopping things you like to do when it’s time to do something you don’t like to do?
  • Have you ever avoided an experience or a person because of your anxiety?
  • How about when you have a great idea, but have trouble creating and acting on a plan to get it done.
If so, learning more about Executive Functioning (EF) may be for you. Research has shown us that the skills underlying Executive Functioning can be taught, practiced and improved on. When EF Skills are working, we tend to be happier and more productive. We are excited to invite self-advocates and individuals who identify as autistic to attend this six part workshop on Executive Functioning (EF). We will discuss and practice skills including: Cognitive Flexibility, Getting Started, Staying Present, Bringing your Anxiety along for the Ride, and Organization/Planning.
Participants will learn about the importance of EF and how to improve EF skills through specific practice within a safe and supportive environment.
Please Note: Effective Monday, May 2, masks are no longer required in public areas on campus. However, given that individuals have different health and risk profiles, we invite visitors to make their own decision about mask wearing. Masks remain available on-site and will be worn when there is a preference to do so.
Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT):  Learn how to FEEL better, rather than how to feel BETTER.  
ACT is an evidence-based approach that uses mindfulness and other strategies and experiences to reduce the impact of difficult/unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  The goal of ACT is to help you learn through experience how to strengthen your mind and create psychological flexibility, which includes:
  • the ability to be fully present (i.e., aware of what you are thinking and feeling, as well as what is going on around you),
  • being willing to accept what you are thinking and feeling, even if it is uncomfortable, unwanted or unpleasant, and still
  • direct your behavior to do what matters to you.
This is accomplished through six core processes:
  1. Contact With the Present Moment: being fully aware and present in your here and now experience vs. getting lost in thoughts or trying to control feelings.
  2. Acceptance/Willingness: making room for unpleasant feelings, thoughts etc., without trying to change them
  3. Cognitive Defusion: stepping back from, and observing thoughts and feelings, without being caught up in them.
  4. The Observing Self: contact with part of you that is an observer of thoughts, feelings, memories
  5. Values: clarifying what matters to you, the person you want to be, the things you want to do
  6. Committed Action: Life is in the doing; considering your values and your willingness to experience some discomfort can help you to do what matters.

Research has proven ACT can be effective with a diverse range of people (including autistic people, teachers, caregivers and support workers) and conditions (including ADHD, trauma, substance abuse and psychosis).
Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT) is a six session skill group.  Each session is 90 minutes long.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn and share in a safe and supportive environment.
Please Note: Effective Monday, May 2, masks are no longer required in public areas on campus. However, given that individuals have different health and risk profiles, we invite visitors to make their own decision about mask wearing. Masks remain available on-site and will be worn when there is a preference to do so.
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