Elves Special Needs Society
Elves Special Needs Society is a private, non-profit organization that offers school, respite, and day programs for individuals of all ages with special needs such as Autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy.
At Elves, possibility can become ability. The key is a partnership between the learner, their family, and our experts in the field of learning and development. Family is critical to an individual’s success, and instrumental to progress across a lifespan.
Elves’ professional programs are individualized and aimed at supporting every learner in achieving success in life.
Elves serves all ability levels, and specializes in supporting learners with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) from ages 2.5 into late adulthood.
We are much more than a program provider. Ours is a community that learners can call their own. Our programs are designed to meet learner needs, promote their growth, and ensure every day is a great day!
We offer the following services in Edmonton and area:
- Early Childhood Services
- For learners ages 2.8 to 6 years of age with a diagnosis such as speech delay, Down Syndrome, fine/gross motor delay, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and Cerebral Palsy. This program is operational from September to June.
- Grades 1-12
- For learners ages 6-20 with severe multiple disabilities who are medically fragile. This program is operational from September to June.
- FASD Respite Program
- For learners ages 3-8 with a diagnosis or query of FASD, while also providing parents with time and resources to meet their family’s needs. This program is operational only on Saturdays.
- Adult Day Program
- Offered to learners ages 20 and up with severe, multiple disabilities who require meaningful, engaging opportunities for growth. This program is operational year-round.
Elves provides individuals with severe disabilities and special needs with a unique, individualized educational or day program to promote their maximum development and to enhance the quality of life of the individuals and their families within a supportive and caring environment.
The vision of Elves Special Needs Society is to offer developmentally appropriate activities that are foundational to the physical, cognitive, and social well-being of every individual.
- Fostering supportive, inclusive opportunities for all children, youth, and adults.
- Facilitating learning across a lifespan.
- Promoting family centered services, and family wellbeing.
- Supporting service excellence and professional learning.
Since it was first established over 45 years ago, Elves has always been about providing programming that supports both growth and learning for all ages and abilities.
In January 1973, Elves began in an upper room of Pineview Residences with only three staff and seven children. This later moved into a wing at the old Misericordia Hospital and was soon serving 30 children and their families. In December 1973, the organization was granted funds from the estate of Mr. Milton Elves to build a facility, and in combination with the donation of land from the Government of Alberta and various private foundations and groups for equipment and furnishings, the first Elves’ facility was established in July 1976 under the vision of our first Executive Director, Sheila Perry.
Today, Elves has grown to 200 staff serving over 400 learners across two facilities in Edmonton, Alberta.
For those wondering about the unique name, Elves is in honour of our benefactor, Mr. Milton E. Elves. He was an Alberta entrepreneur, a pioneer in the promotion of modern technology, and a valuable community member who attributed his success to “honesty and hard work.”
After his death in 1972, his Will stipulated that funds be assigned to the construction or establishment of a centre for children with disabilities.
It was through his estate that Elves was able to purchase its first facility in 1976. This was also made possible through the Government of Alberta providing a tract of land, as well as many private foundations/groups donating equipment and furnishings.
To this day, we still provide services within our first building at Elves Child Development Centre located at 10825-142 Street.