Ability Online – safe online community for children and young adults with autism

logoCan parents of autistic children join the online community too?

Absolutely parents can join. We have a separate section on the site dedicated for parents, and there is a forum that specifically deals with Autism.

What modules are offered relating to autism?

Our Friendship Builder module was specifically designed for youth with Autism to help them with both social thinking and social skills. We have videos that role model various social situations and there are all kinds of tips on friendship.

How do you enrol in the modules? Can you live anywhere in the world to access them?

All members have access to those modules that were developed with their age group in mind. Access is open to anyone as long as they have an internet connections

Are your resources free? How are you funded? How can people help?

Yes our resources are free. We are a registered charity and we receive donations from corporations, foundations and individuals. We can always use more donations to continue to build the program and keep it going long term.

onlineThis Friendship Builder module can be used independently by the child for self learning, but it is also useful for parents and teachers, who can use it in the classroom. There is a guide to the use of the videos in the Parents and Professionals section of the site.

Social thinking is a concept created by Michelle Garcia Winner out of California, and it focuses on the feelings behind social interactions, emotions in general and how to best manage them in social situations.

Can you tell me a little about Ability Gives grant.

The Ability Gives program is only for Canadian Children under 18 years of age who have a disability and need help funding a piece of equipment that will contribute to their independence or quality of life. Parents must be registered and active members of the online community.

What responses have you have had from the autism community who have accessed your resources?

We have had a great response from the youth themselves, the parents and the teachers. We are currently working with a few schools in Toronto to connect students on the spectrum to one another in a private forum just for those students. This gives them a great way to “Safely” work on their social skills.

I read a few of the blog posts on your site by Chris Viola and Sarah Evans. Do you have regular contributors, how can people blog for you?

The blog is a new feature for us, and so far we only have Sarah and Chris blogging. But others could certainly send their posts to information@abilityonline.org for consideration.

Is there anything you would specifically like to share with our readers?

Ability Online really offers a very positive online experience for those youth who tend to be the most vulnerable. In our community they will find unconditional friendship, heart-warming support, access to role models and mentors, and even some fun stuff, because after all, what child doesn’t like having fun?

We would very much like to thank Michelle for taking the time to answer our questions.

For more information about Ability Online, please visit their website at www.abilityonline.org