The Connection between Ability Online and Ability Gives
Started by a child psychiatrist at the Hospital for Sick Children in 1990, Ability Online was the ﬁrst social media platform for youth with disabilities. Twenty nine years later, Ability Online still helps members build conﬁdence and skills by connecting them to a supportive community of role models and mentors, linking them to great learning resources, and providing them with a safe and nurturing platform to receive assistance tailored to their speciﬁc learning needs.
Membership is free and the online experience is safe, secure and monitored by over 50 policescreened and trained volunteers. There are over 7000 members from across Canada currently registered with Ability Online.
Ability Online helps members build conﬁdence and skills by connecting them to a supportive community of role models and mentors, linking them to great learning resources, and providing them with a safe and nurturing platform to receive assistance tailored to their speciﬁc learning needs. It allows any member (child, teen, parent or caregiver) to connect with others for friendship, support and information in a secure, bully-free environment where the goal is to help our members accomplish great things! Our newest program, Supporting Healthy Minds, is designed to support young people with disabilities and mental health challenges including anxiety.
Ability Gives is our grant program contributing to life changing experiences in children and youth with disabilities by helping families acquire necessary equipment/aids. Ability Gives is part of the charity Ability Online and was added in 2012 to truly enhance the support we provide for our families.
Having a child with a disability brings a unique set of challenges to a family’s life. From learning how to manage their health needs to wanting to help them achieve their personal best, It’s a 24/7 undertaking! And then you add in all the “extras”, the adapted equipment, specialized seating, writing aids etc that quickly drain often limited ﬁnancial resources. While there are some ﬁnancial supports available, the full cost is not always covered or parents might not meet
all the eligibility requirements, and it is that amount that may prevent the child from getting what he/she needs to be as self-suﬃcient as possible. Ability Gives wants to help. We want to bridge that ﬁnancial gap and turn the impossible into possible!
As a program component of Ability Online, Members who already have access to a supportive online community for networking and the sharing of information may apply for an Ability Gives grant. Items that may be covered by the grant include:
ipads with communication software for non-verbal children
specialized seating/feeding chairs
lifts and turners
To qualify for funding someone in the family (parent, child, sibling, other caregiver) must be a registered and ACTIVE member of Ability Online. Active means logging on at LEAST once a week and posting and replying to messages, as well as using any of the many resources we have on the site. If you are not active you will not be funded. Also, the child who will be receiving the equipment donation must be 18 years of age or under. For more information please contact the Executive Director, Michelle McClure
To date, we have completed 200 grants valued just under $ 500,000!
If you know of someone in need, please let them know of our program!