Monday, 29 January 2018

Abilities Expo 2018

“The event for the disability community.”

The second annual Abilities Expo on Canadian soil was held January 19-21 at the International Centre in Toronto. The Abilities Expo promotes greater independence and offers a chance to discover life-changing products, services and workshops to those with special needs. Different events ranging from wheelchair dancing and basketball, face painting, service dog demonstrations were available all weekend.

This year for the very first time, Ability Online was able to participate. Ability Online had the chance to reconnect with members from the past and present at our booth. Highlighting ways that kids, teens and young adults with disabilities as well as parents and professionals can connect to get support in a safe environment.

Products and Services: A wide variety of products and services were available to try all weekend for anyone to test out including mobility products, devices for those with developmental disabilities, other medical equipment, necessary services, and more. Not-for-profit organizations (like Ability Online) were also on hand to provide helpful resources.

Sports and Dancing: Physical activity has always been a key to better health. Attendees of any ability could test out their skills with sports like hockey, basketball, rugby, tennis and sitting volleyball. Dancing queen Auti Angel and Wheel Dance offered interactive dancing workshops that got the entire crowd moving.

Assistance Animals: Animals have always been near and dear to our hearts, but even more so to the disable community. Service dogs are essential in guiding, hearing, diabetic alerts, autism support, and seizure alerts. Service dog demonstrations offered information about how these animals can improve ones life.
Go check out Ability Online's social media to see some more photos from the event and sign up today!

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Don't "Dis" My Ability by Danielle Pellerine

Hi, my name is Danielle Pellerine. This is my story.

I live with a condition called spina bifida, which is a birth defect where you're born with a hole in your spine. I also have hydrocephalus, a condition where too much fluid accumulates in the brain. Due to these conditions, I was required to have multiple surgeries, including repairing the hole in my spine and inserting a shunt in my brain to drain the fluid. The exposure of latex gloves from surgeries has caused me to develop a latex allergy. I also have a non-verbal learning disorder. I started wearing glasses when I was 9 months old  my George Burns glasses! I live with a dislocated hip that doctors have tried to repair twice, unsuccessfully. This requires me to use a wheelchair to get around, but I don't let that stop me from enjoying fun adventures and accomplishing big things. 

I enjoy trying different wheelchair sports. I play sledge hockey and I love it! I was given the honour of being chosen as captain of my hockey team! I've also tried wheelchair basketball, bowling, as well as skiing and hiking with an all-terrain wheelchair called a Hippocampe. I even performed in a couple plays with my school's after-school drama club  Cheaper by the Dozen and being a mermaid in the Little Mermaid.  

I was asked to be a Rick Hanson Ambassador for my local area one year, where there was a big walk to raise money to buy a lift for the pool at the local university. During Rick Hansen's 25th Anniversary Relay, I wheeled as a medal bearer. It was such an honour to wheel with Rick Hansen's medal! 

My biggest accomplishment, however, was completing 23 courses in an online Library Information Technology program and graduating as a library technician. Wheeling across the stage at graduation was definitely my proudest moment in life, to date. I work part-time in two local public libraries, and am also a Facebook Administrator for one of those library systems.

I hope you enjoyed reading my story. "I have a Disability yes that's true, but all that really means is I may have to take a slightly different path than you."  - Robert M. Hensel

I'm just a girl who experiences the world using a set of wheels. Don't "dis" my ability.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Ways to De-Stress by Shandi Pace

Stress is a part of our daily lives. Worrying about so many daily activities at once can lead to severe physical effects in the future. Ranging from health issues to irritability, it’s important to be aware to what may be causing your stress. For the most part, you can’t change the source of your stress, however you can change how you deal with it.

There’s truly no way to live a completely stress-free life, but these are a few tips on how to stay relaxed.

Exercise is a simple way to relieve your body’s pent up energy. Even by doing just 30 minutes of activity a day your overall mood will change dramatically. Self-paced exercises tend to get the best results.
·      Best exercises to try: Yoga, High-Energy Activities (running, dancing), Tai Chi.

Healthy eating ensures that the body has energy and nutrients it needs to maintain concentration and for the brain to function properly. Although junk food might taste better, superfoods are packed with vitamins and minerals that will leave you feeling less bloated.
·      Best foods to try: Asparagus, avocado, blueberries, salmon, almonds.

Get some sleep! Make sure your body isn’t getting in the way of your ability to reciprocate in stressful situations by heading to bed earlier. Your mood can also be altered depending on how much sleep you’ve had. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night is what’s recommended most.
·      Tips to try:
o   Unplug all electronics 10-15 minutes before bed.
o   Read a book or magazine to tire yourself out.
o   Try heading to bed earlier.
o   Make sure your room is as dark as possible.

Talk it out. Opening discussing what’s on your mind with a trusted family member or friend helps introduce a new point of view. If more attention is needed, seek out support groups or check out Ability Online’s forums with multiple mentors always available. Keeping a journal is another way to also “talk it out” if the problem is more personal.

Do something you love. Always take time out of your day to do the things you love the most. If something is causing an issue, take short breaks and step back from what’s causing you stress. Most like to listen to music, take a nap, colour in an adult colouring book, take a bath or play video games. Regularly make time for whatever it is you enjoy most.

Schedule your time accordingly. Make a list of priorities you want to accomplish over the span of a week. Organizing your time and not taking on too many responsibilities will lower your stress. Also, allow for time to do your favourite hobbies and interests.

Stay Positive. Living life to the fullest is the most straightforward way to cut stress out of your life. Studies show that laughter lowers the levels of stress hormones and reduces inflammation in the arteries. Overall, having a positive attitude will not only reflect how you feel, but the people around you as well.

Do you have any special ways you deal with stress? Comment below!