Monday, 26 February 2018

Show Your Support for Pink Shirt Day

Nobody likes a bully. Those who put others down for no reason need to learn to make better choices. Causing someone to feel small and useless isn't what being a compassionate human is about. This Pink Shirt Day let's strive to create change.

Pink Shirt Day’s campaign aims to increase awareness on issues such as bullying, as well as raise funds to support various programs to boost children’s self-esteem. Help put a smile on a child's face by wearing a pink shirt and encouraging them to stand up for others.

Living in the digital age can make cyber-bullying even harder to deal with. The Internet allows for easier access to social media, which can translate to non-stop harassment. Bullying is hard on all kids, but children with disabilities are three to five times more likely to be bulled by their peers. This can lead to unnecessary anxiety and fear down the road. 

Ability Online has always been an avid supporter of Pink Shirt Day. Our online community takes pride in being bully-free for over 27 years. On February 28thjoin us in wearing pink shirts to combat against bullying and remember that every day is chance to stand up.

Ability Online will be located at Humber College for a Pink Shirt Day bake sale. Come by, purchase a baked good, and show your support!

Monday, 19 February 2018

Avra Labs Eye Control by Shandi Pace

There's a new technology emerging that's inclusive for any person that struggles with typing has the ability to use. Avra Labs Eye Control was developed by Rishi Kapadia and allows members with mobility issues to operate a computer with only their eyes. By simply using an eye-tracking bar and downloading the necessary software, members will calibrate their computer to work with their eye strength. This works by a tracking device located at the base of the monitor.

In the summer of 2017, Rishi was working at a large tech company and noticed one of his team members struggling to use a computer. “His condition was an essential tremor and I noticed that it took him about five seconds to be able to move his mouse cursor across the screen and typing on his keyboard was a struggle,” said Kapadia.

Researching various solutions that could work as a hands-free alternative to using a mouse and computer left only a few useful options. While there were several other products on the market, none were as efficient to any skill set as the eye gaze technology was.

The next step was to test out the competition. Although eye gaze was the most effective option available to use a computer, most were slow and inconsistent to use. “After ten minutes I didn’t want to use it anymore because of how cumbersome it felt (slow, not accurate enough which would cause it to click places I didn't intend it to, and it felt like a pain in the eye),” said Kapadia. The majority of the products were also overpriced and with the technology available in the world today it was time for a change.

Accessibility is an issue across Canada, which should not only relate to outside of the home, but also while using technology that is supposed to be available to everyone. “After doing research, I recognized that there are millions of people around the world who have difficulty using a computer due to their physical condition. It became my goal to bring these individuals a computer usage experience they can enjoy,” said Kapadia.

At the Abilities Expo the technology was brought to life when Sarah, Ability Online’s own was able to use the software. She was able to type and control the computer with her eyes and with minimal clicking involved. “It was cool to try. I can type quickly, but I think that this technology is going to be really great for people who have trouble with their arms and have issues typing,” said Sarah.

For more information on how to use Avra Labs Eye Control:

To contact Rishi with any questions email:

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Heads Up: Dealing with a Concussion by Shandi Pace

The frightening term being tossed around regarding our favourite athletes as of lately is concussions. Marc-Andre Fleury is one of the biggest names in the NHL and missed 8 weeks with a concussion he received during a game in late October. Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots is one of the latest concussion victims in the NFL.

How can a knock to the head be so serious?

The risk of having a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become a significant injury across Canada. Although they are often viewed as minor, they can have lasting, detrimental effects. Concussions have developed into complex issues, in which one’s brain is injured as the result of a direct force to the body, such as a blow to the head that causes a shaking or jarring to the brain.

There’s no set way to prevent a concussion from happening. In sports, helmets only protect the bones of the skull, but they do not protect the actual brain from experiencing trauma. It’s important to be mindful of concussion symptoms.

Symptoms of a concussion can include:
·      Headache.
·      Dizziness and balance issues.
·      Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly.
·      Blurred vision.
·      Insomnia or fatigue.
·      Memory loss.
·      Nausea or vomiting.
·      Sensitivity to light and sound.
·      An increase in anxiety and irritability.
·      Depression.

The full recovery from a TBI can last months to years depending on the severity. Every single brain injury is unique. Each will have different symptoms resulting in varying recovery time. It may seem frustrating at times, but it’s important to stay positive and take various steps to help the recovery process along.

Ability Online offers great services to help deal with a concussion or TBI. There are multiple forums where members can chat with each other and with professionals to understand this injury better.

Helpful resource pages are available including a concussion handbook, better night sleep tips, and returning to learning. We are also partnered with Holland Bloorview in order for parents to have the best research about TBI’s available to them.

There’s no avoiding a concussion, no matter how carful you may be. I suffered a concussion playing hockey in my teens and it was so scary. The first minute after being hit I was in such a daze and had no idea where I was. Thankfully, my symptoms didn’t last long and I was back to playing in no time. For others it may take time and be frustrating to overcome, but concussions can be defeated.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Valentine's Day Campaign

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. This year, instead of buying chocolates why not donate to Ability Online?

The average amount Canadian’s spend on candies and chocolates for their special someone each year is $191. We think that donating to Ability Online for Valentine’s Day can help make a lasting difference.

In reality, most gifts don’t have a continuous impact: roses wilt and chocolates tend to go bad. Make your present to a loved one a donation that not only shows how much you care, but is also a gift that gives back.

Over the last 27 years Ability Online has been a free, supportive online community for kids, teens and young adults with all kinds of disabilities or health challenges. It’s become a place for those who need help to get advice from role models and mentors. Highlighted in our blog and across our website, our members have accomplished some pretty great things.

Without Ability Online, many members and parents would feel alone. Building an online community where they can seek support and make new friends is the boost most need to succeed. Donating will insure that our members will continue to receive the online support they need.

This Valentine’s Day, help our kids accomplish even more incredible things.