Too often, folk who are neurodivergent find it challenging to form social groups that feel comfortable. Many of us struggle with anxiety, loneliness, depression, and isolation.

EMPOWER! is all about creating space for like-minded folk to support one another, and to EMPOWER themselves and each other.

Each week there is a group topic to get the conversation started, and while social skills are often part of our conversations, these groups are about developing our own sense of self, and being part of an accepting group that can support one another and challenge each other to grow and excel.

Each group is run slightly differently, to support age-appropriate learning and support. THESE ARE NOT CLASSES, they are guided discussions with a compassionate Team Lead who brings with them a lifetime of experience supporting folk from diverse backgrounds.

These programs are peer-based and utilize scaffolding (developing awareness, deepening understanding, seeing in practice, participating in practice, applying to real-life situations) and always include self-advocacy and authenticity supports.

EMPOWER! includes some classes, but the program itself is NOT class based with a top-down lecture. Instead, they are peer-to-peer and based on developing a sense of community and support within the group to foster healthy relationships skills and build self-esteem and efficacy.

For neurodivergent (ND) youth who seek to learn how to improve their friendship skills, to better navigate problem solving, and build emotional regulation. Still a support group, with more structure for our younger folk

This group meets Wednesday 5-530 pm

For teens who are socially awkward, struggle with anxiety, or look to brush up their conversation skills! This group is all about self-advocacy skill building and group support. Semi-structured.

This group meets Mondays 6-730pm

For adults who are looking to improve their social skills and to support other socially diverse folk so that isolation is lessened.

This group meets Tuesday 8-930pm

Join us for our monthly conversation club! We start with small talk (don't worry, there are cheat sheets), and then practice trading information, active listening and offering verbal support.

This group meets Wednesdays

Meet Angel

The groups are led by Angel Sumka (they/she). Angel is a certified sexual health educator and life coach, currently headed into the last phase for completing a Master's degree in Counselling Psychology.

Angel is a neurodivergent, (Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Learning Disabled (LD), Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) queer femmeby (nonbinary, feminine presenting) educator, parent of three children (Two with ADHD, one with ASD, one with undiagnosed mood disorders) who lives with their life partner (also ND) in Edmonton, Alberta.

Angel created a Social Skills program for ND adults to address gaps in resources to support healthy adult relationships without engaging in the harmful practice of asserting folk MASK their natural selves. This program has been so popular that it grew to accommodate a wide range of relationship topics and was adapted for other age groups.

Sex On The Spectrum

Are you curious what contemporary research in health and sexuality is finding when it comes to folk who are neurodivergent?

Me too!

I researched this topic during my graduate studies, and found some very interesting statistics and qualitative studies.

Unsurprisingly (at least to me), was that neurodivergent folk are less likely than their neurotypical (NT) peers to have access to comprehensive sex education. Although things are changing, there is still this underlying assumption that folk who are socially awkward are simply not interested in the same intimacy as NT folk.

Some interesting findings included that folk on the spectrum were more likely to identify as transgender or nonbinary than NT peers; more drawn towards alternative sexual communities including kink/BDSM; and less likely to be heterosexual.

Join the conversation! Attend the quarterly webinar!

Lower Income? Let's Chat

ASPECC is working on funding this program to alleviate the costs for families. In the meantime, if your family is unable to access EMPOWER! due to the fees, please PLEASE do not hesitate to reach out.

We have families that are willing to sponsor (without knowing who they are sponsoring) some of the costs for a family that would not otherwise be able to participate.

We can also offer quarterly, monthly, weekly, or annual payments. Whatever works for you! If you require receipts for your support funds reimbursements, let us know! This program is a health science program that includes social mentoring and self-advocacy training.

We are happy to make this work for folk, as we whole-heartedly stand by this program as one that is so very needed for our youth and young adults who often have nowhere they fit, feel supported and and welcome.

Contacts: Angel they/she angel@ndempower.ca Deana she/her deana@ndempower.ca

Call Angel (text first please, so they know who you are!) 587-340-5899

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