The Autism Society of NL

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Elaine Dobbin Centre of Autism
70 Clinch Crescent
PO Box 14078
St. John’s, NL
A1B 4G8

Tel: (709) 722-4926                          Toll-free: 1-866-722-2803
Fax: (709) 722-4926                         Email: 


ASNL, is a charitable organization dedicated to promoting the development of individual, lifelong, and community-based supports and services for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their families and caregivers. Their vision is a province where people with ASD and their families are valued and respected, and where they receive services and supports based on their individualized differences, needs and preferences.

Target Population:

Anyone in the province affected by autism

Highlight of Programs / Services Offered:

Programming opportunities occur in four distinct areas: Social Skills Development, Life Skills, Pre-Employment & Career Services, and Community Access.  Please visit our website for current program offerings in your area.

  • Social Skills Development: Programs focusing on social skill development are available for all ages and generally occur in small group settings.  They are designed for participants to share interests and build relationships with peers while gaining self-understanding and confidence.   In many cases, social skills programs incorporate community outings to generalize goals and practice community outings with peers.
  • Life Skills: Life skills programs aim to assist individuals with gaining more independence in their daily lives.  Some programs take an individualized approach to developing support tools and leisure opportunities, while others can target specific skill areas in a group setting such as cooking, budgeting, self-advocacy, etc.
  • Pre-Employment & Career Services: ASNL has a variety of options for employment preparation and support.  Programming options exist for: career coaching and mentorship during high school; a full year of work skill enhancement through community volunteerism and work experience; and employment skill refinement through detailed self-awareness and career exploration.  Individualized services are available for interview practice, resume building, and employment agency referrals.  Career services also works with employers to build community understanding around ASD and inclusive hiring practices.
  • Community Access: ASNL forms partnerships with a number of community organizations to offer programs for individuals on the spectrum. Community instructors receive ASD training and have the guidance of an ASNL staff member to ensure participants have the necessary supports to be successful.  Community access programs open up opportunities for individuals with ASD to participate in activities they may not have had confidence accessing before.  Even more importantly, these programs increase autism awareness throughout the community and promote inclusion and accessibility at all recreational facilities.  Examples may include swimming, bowling, music, art, rock-climbing, yoga, etc.

ASNL Outreach Services:

  • Adult Support Group: This is a meeting group for independent adults with ASD, providing the opportunity to meet new people, socialize with peers, and discuss challenges and successes with others on the spectrum. Groups meet at the Elaine Dobbin Centre as well as at various community locations.  Ages 21+; suitable for adults with ASD or Asperger’s Syndrome who are living and/or accessing services independently; no registration required.
  • Parent Support Groups: The Parent 2 Parent is a parent engagement initiative designed to connect parents and create an active network of families. This group is open to parents/caregivers of individuals with ASD and is designed to provide support, resources and shared experiences between families. No registration required.
  • Barbara J. Hopkins Library: The Barbara J. Hopkins Library offers a wide variety of resources related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Extensive literature is available including curriculum, behaviour strategies, research, diet, sensory processing, and co-occurring diagnoses, including materials published by authors with ASD.  The collection also includes many children’s books and videos about having autism, or having a family member or friend with autism.  In addition to borrowing print materials, the library offers DVD collections, games, and special equipment related to sensory or learning needs, as well as technological devices for trial and learning purposes. Although the library is housed at the Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism in St. John’s, materials can be accessed 24 hours a day across the province via the library’s online catalogue and mailing service.
  • Assistive Technology Consultation: These consultations can provide individualized instruction in the use of handheld devices to assist clients and families with communication, organization and socialization. Members can sign out technology on a trial basis as well as receive personalized assistance in using devices and/or software.
  • Classroom Awareness Presentations: ASNL staff provides fun and meaningful classroom or community group presentations about what it means for someone to have ASD and how that diagnosis can impact them as a student and as a friend. Designed according to grade level, these engaging presentations use age-appropriate stories, videos, games, and discussions to educate students and create understanding and empathy among peers.
  • Professional Development & Training: Trained ASNL staff can support other professionals working with individuals on the spectrum through tailored sessions designed to meet the needs of a particular group. Sessions can cover general information about ASD as a diagnosis and effective strategies to support individuals of all ages and abilities. Contact to discuss potential training opportunities.
  • Conferences & Workshops: ASNL offers several opportunities for professionals, families, and those with an interest in ASD to further their education and training through workshops and/or conferences presented by ASD professionals. Each year ASNL hosts a professional development opportunity designed primarily for educators which is presented by renowned leaders in the field of autism.  In addition to the annual conference, ASNL hosts a variety of presentations and workshops offered throughout the year by local professionals concerning such topics as: financial/estate planning, naturopathic resources, diet and nutrition, post-secondary information, inclusive hiring and workplace practices, new and upcoming research, assistive technology, panel discussions, and advocacy training.