Friday, 15 March 2019
Seven months ago I decided to join the community of Ability Online; since joining, I’ve had countless conversations on message boards, and raced to keep up with the unbelievable pace of Monday Night Chats.
For those who aren’t aware, Ability Online is a community, meant to encourage those with special needs to connect and build friendships. We talk about things like the weather (It’s cold and snowing; spring, where are you?), our favourite things (the colour blue, Italian food, and SHORT walks on the beach.) There’s something for everyone and anyone, you just have to search the forums, and you’ll find yourself a friend.
While I tend to hop around and answer any post, I’ve recently noticed a forum titled “Write Now.” This is a place for writers to talk about or share their writing with people who also like to write or read. After scrolling, I started thinking, and I have a thought. Here we go…
Storytelling is the world’s most accessible form of human entertainment and connection.
Literally anyone can write, read, or share a story with minimal accommodation, and when you’re world is made up of modified or accommodated activities every day, all day…to be able to do something the way it was meant to be done, or in a way that is accepted by other members of your society, it means a lot more than you would guess.
Some of us may require the use of text-to-speech technology, communication boards, or computers…but at least we can all tell stories that can be understood and appreciated by the people around us. I’m not saying we’re all going to be the next Robert Munsch or L.M Montgomery; but, thanks to Audiobooks, E-books, movies, television, and developmentally appropriate reading material, we can all enjoy a good story without feeling different or singled-out by our abilities.
Listen, I know the world isn’t a perfectly accessible fairytale, and that there are many dragons that need slaying in the days to come. But, for the moment, I am happy to see that we can all curl up and appreciate a story; in whichever method we choose.
Confidence may be a hard concept to actually obtain for many people. Gaining confidence may be a challenge but it is not impossible. Have you ever heard of the phrase “Fake it till you make it”? well, sometimes following that may actually work.
Let me use myself as an example. Growing up, I didn’t mind public speaking. I would even volunteer to work as assembly hosts and morning speakers in elementary school. However, by the time I reached high school, I hated it. I hated any attention that was given to me and this made doing presentations in class quite difficult.
Now fast forward to University, I am back to enjoying public speaking and doing presentations. Why a sudden change? Confidence. Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t just come to university and suddenly love presenting again. I knew it was impossible to hide from it and so of course, I faked my confidence. Eventually, I started getting comfortable. This just goes to show that confidence is gained and achieved, and it’s not easy. I know I’m not perfect and I do get nervous quite a bit but there is nothing wrong with trying and pushing yourself to be the best you can be.
Here are some tips to help you build confidence!
1. Be Fearless!
2. Don’t Care What Others Think
3. Challenge Yourself
4. Do What Makes You Happy!
Sunday, 10 March 2019
March Break is finally here YAY!
A week off of school to have fun and enjoyable break. To make memories and spend time with loved ones this March break get started with activities and things to do both at home and exploring the outdoors. Here is a list of places to go and things to see, as well as what activities you can embark on at home.
Places to go and things to see include:
- The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum): March Break programs start from the 9th all the way to the 17th for all ages. From finding treasure, to meeting new species of Dinosaurs, including interactive and accessible for all. With displays and informative tours that incorporate all five senses, allows one to learn and explore information through a comprehensive experience.
- The AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario): Another place to visit during March break would be the AGO. With it's all inclusive march break programs and events from 10:30 to 4pm, kids and teen can participate in a variety of classes. Each day there is something recently discovered to explore and a new creative activity to make!
- Toronto Zoo: This year the Toronto Zoo offers a scavenger hunt along with a live screening of the latest seasons show. With the guest appearances from your favourite furry friends of course!
- Imagine Dragons at Casa Loma: Interactive castle experience with fairy tale like era with Imagine Dragons in Castle Loma. A series of theatrical performances from March 9 to March 17th.
- Crock a doodle: I have recently just found this gem not too long ago, a great way to learn pottery or select a variety or ceramics to paint with your loved ones. Crock a Doodle has a variety of location within the GTA, with their Drop in Studios just make sure you call in ahead!
Want to stay in, here are some activities you can do!
- Baking: March break is the perfect time to try out new recipes and have fun in the comfort of your own home.
- Crafting: A great way for some creative fun with you family and friends. Turn Pinterest ideas to DIY projects; for instructions or ideas members can visit Ability Online’s Fun stuff page for more crafts.
- Movies: Watching movies are a great way to escape our world and explore another. During the March break stay in or even go out to the movies for all inclusive experience.
- Games: Want to travel another realm, well through the march break you can accomplish this by playing games. Both board games and video games can help you bond, have fun, and create memories with your loved ones. Feel free to check out all inclusive games at Ability Online.
Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Statistics say 1 in every 5 kids in Canada is bullied. This could be at school, workplace, and now even online. As technology is evolving this number will continue to grow as people are being connected vastly and much faster than ever before. To bring awareness to this issue try to use the acronym THINK, whenever posting something online. THINK stands for (True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary & Kind), remember to always think twice before posting or commenting something negative online. Ability Online strives to bring awareness to this issue as well with the Pink Shirt day on February 27th. The campaign helps bring awareness and funds programs to help build a child’s self-esteem.
You might be wondering why is the pink shirt so important? What does it symbolize? Well, a short back story to this was an idea created by 2 students in Nova Scotia who took a stand against bullying. A student in their high school was bullied for wearing a pink shirt, so the two boys when out and bought pink shirts to wear. In honour of that event, we now take pride in the pink shirt and wear it during pink shirt day, to raise awareness for those who have been bullied as well as mental health awareness.
This year Ability online will be hosting a bake sale for pink shirt day at the University of Guelph Humber, near the plant wall on the first floor. Please help us stop bullying and raise awareness by sporting the pink shirt! We are supported by Motion (formerly Motion Specialties) who are working with us for the pink shirt campaign.
Join us on Wednesday, February 27th between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to help put a stop bullying with the pink shirt day. Stop by our bake sale at the University of Guelph Humber connected to the Humber North campus and show your support.
Monday, 4 February 2019
2019 Goals Discussion in the Ability Online Young Adult Chatroom
Hey everyone! Thank you so much for participating in the goal setting segment with Jacob Madeiros last Monday in the young adult chat room. We shared many goals and gave each other encouraging advice to accomplish them. An important step is creating and sharing goals with others to brainstorm and hold each other accountable for progress towards the endeavour. As discussed in the chat the key to setting a goal is to start out small, this allows one to stay motivated and not procrastinate as there is not as much pressure put on getting the task done. Another tip is to stick to one goal, instead of overwhelming yourself with a couple it is best to tackle a task one at a time to ensure progression and that the task has been completed to the best of your ability.
Now, to touch upon some of the goals that were shared on Monday night’s chat. Some of the recurring goals discussed on the chat were; procrastination, eating healthy, Saving money, motivation, Fitness and Planning. Though these were just a few it shows that many of us really want to improve and overcome some of our struggles and weaknesses. This is completely normal and actually very relevant to many people in current society. To start off with the goals discussed the following being procrastination and motivation seemingly go hand in hand. Though this is open to discussion there is a link with procrastination and how it contributes to that because of a lack of motivation. When someone is not motivated in a situation or even when it comes to a goal, it will usually lead to procrastination because of the lack or dread that you associate with that task. So in order to beat procrastination is to stay motivated, if you need help or inspiration check out the Motivation tag in the Young Adult forum for more help.
Two other goals that intertwine are health and fitness, I noticed that many members wanted to go to the gym more or even start eating healthier. Which is a great goal for both your mind and health. Eating healthy is a good start, you will find an increase in your energy, mood, and overall tasks you are trying to accomplish. Though fitness ties into it as well, you can be eating a healthy diet but will still need some form of physical activity to burn off necessary calories and unhealthy fats. Which ultimately leads to a happier you!
Another goal that was recurring between members, was saving money whether for travelling or just increasing your savings account. This is very relevant for many of us, as the holidays have drained most of our bank accounts and we are searching for that warm travel destination during the coldest of months. Savings will always help whether it is a rainy day or not.
Lastly, one of my favourite hobbies was also mentioned during the chat which was planning. Many members expressed that they enjoy using their planners/agendas and scheduling their time wisely. As I am an avid planner and love to learn my agenda into a scrapbook, I completely get the satisfaction when it comes to checking tasks of your daily to-do lists. Actually writing things down and keeping track of certain tasks will stay in your mind even if you don't look at your agenda that certain day. The task has already entered your subconscious, so when the day arrives you will find yourself wanting to complete it or doing the task already. Thank you to the members who participated for the goal setting segment and a special thanks to Jacob Madeiros for hosting the chat!
Thursday, 24 January 2019
Setting goals may probably be one of the hardest when starting a new chapter, task or personal endeavour. Which is why Ability online will be having a speciality chat on Monday, January 28 with Jacob Madeiros and Michelle McClure on Goal setting in the young adult chat room from 7 to 8 pm. This will give all the opportunity to set and brainstorm goals to start off the new year.
Goals can be underestimated and passed off quite quickly as something not important or distracting you from the task. However, this is not the case; a goal is the first step in planning your journey. It allows one to focus, measure progress, be motivated as well as overcome procrastination. When you take on projects step by step it eliminates the anxiety and stress of the situation, which makes one focus on the smaller pieces that make up the bigger picture. For some coming up with a goal can be as easy as being more organized. but to others who may not have any goals for 2019, this chat will help you; as others will be brainstorming, discussing strategies, and sharing what they want to achieve in the new year.
Now you might be wondering; why is it so important to create goals? The short answer is getting things done. You finish one task and move on to the next without giving it a second thought. In a sense, you become self-reliant and stronger. The long answer is that it is a way to take control of your life and be the person you aspire to be through progress, self-building and motivation. Finding a greater purpose as one may say or even the pursuit of happiness. Once you get into the habit of tackling and finishing tasks the more progress you will see a change in your attitude along with approach and the more motivated you will become.
For those who participate in the Monday evening social time, do not be worried we will still be having that chat room open from 8 to 9 pm after the event. Please do not hesitate to ask any questions in this forum and we are looking forward to connecting with all of you on January 28th.
If you are not already a registered member of Ability Online, join for free today!