We've done our best to answer the most frequently asked questions, below, but if there's something that we have not addressed, please feel free to send us your question to information@abilityonline.org

    What is Ability Online?

    Ability Online is a free and monitored online support community that links kids with disabilities or illness to other kids and adults who care. In a password-protected environment, we offer monitored topical discussion threads,  chat facilities, and games and activities where kids can come together and just be kids. Then, when they are ready, links to health information, peer support, and opportunities for skill development are just a mouse click away.

    Ability Online also offers private e-communities to off-line support groups which can benefit from the extended access of an online facility. This is particularly helpful for organizations whose outpatients are restricted by geographical barriers.

    How is Ability Online different from other online "chat" environments?

    Ability Online is not a typical chat/messaging community!

    • Our community is comprised of children and youths who share the challenges associated with disabilities and/or chronic illness and their parents/care givers;
    • Safety and security is paramount. Member identification is verified prior to permitting access to the site, public message areas are monitored, and all volunteers and staff are police-screened;
    • We have zero tolerance for bullying or inappropriate behaviour; Our program supports a therapeutic model for recovery, meaning that program areas are designed to address needs across functional domains and can be used with varying levels of parent/therapist intervention;
    • We provide opportunities for confidence building, skill development, and peer support;
    • We strive to help our members in "off-line" areas of their lives, too, by providing mentors, homework help, and help with the transition to adulthood.


    Why should I join Ability Online?

    If you're looking for a comfortable place to hang out, make friends, and feel good about yourself then Ability Online is the place for you. On Ability Online, everyone looks the same - we're just friends meeting friends. If you need help with homework but don't know how to ask for help at school - we can help you.

    If you are becoming an adult and wondering how to manage - we have the goods. Our new Young Adult/Alumni section is for our young adult members and also focuses on issues related to transition.

    As a parent, what should I know about Ability Online?

    We understand that protecting your child is of the utmost importance, and would like to assure you that Ability Online provides a monitored, bully-free, happy environment for members. Members are screened prior to being given access the site, messages are public and monitored, and inappropriate behaviour and language are not tolerated. Any members that cannot adhere to the rules are first cautioned and the offending messages removed, and if the inappropriate behaviour persists the member loses access to our site. The site is protected by state of the art software and firewalls. We attempt to ensure that all members have a good, healthy, happy online experience in order to build their feeling of self worth and independence.

    We also invite parents to register with us so that you can talk to other parents and caregivers that face similar challenges. We invite you to join us and see the benefits of an online support community for yourself.

    How can Ability Online help my therapeutic practice?

    Our online program reflects a holistic model for recovery, supporting development across five functional domains - physical, cognitive, social, emotional, and spiritual. The flexibility of our program allows it to be utilized by health care professionals as a tool for recovery and/or rehabilitation. We have program areas suitable for members who require high levels of intervention, and areas for those who are able to benefit from more independent usage. Please contact us to receive one of our "Information Guide for Community Partner" manuals to find out more about the therapeutic applications of Ability Online.

    How is Ability Online monitored?

    Currently we have over 50 online volunteers who provide daily support in the message areas and also provide chat session monitoring. These volunteers are long-time members of Ability Online and go through a special training program to develop the moderating skills required.

    What is a "forum"?

    A forum is a spot where you can read messages posted by other members, and respond if you wish. The title of the forum helps organize the messages to make it easier for members to find the types of messages they are interested in. The beauty of the forums is that you get to see all the messages, and can reply to any that interest you with just a click. Forums form the core of the Ability Online environment, and provide an open invitation to start a conversation with a friend who shares your interests.