E-Communities

    Ability Online provides a monitored online community in which members exchange messages on a wide variety of topics. Some are looking for friendship, others are looking for support, while others are seeking first hand information about a particular illness or disability.  To accommodate all the varying needs of our membership we have divided our message areas (we refer to them as forums) into several public or private categories –or think of them as mini communities.

    Many of our partners who see value in our program, have expressed an interest in having a message area of their own, in order to link with their clients directly, and to benefit from all the safety and security measures we have in place. Some organizations use these private communities for social purposes, allowing the youth to connect with one another outside clinics, while other organizations have made use of them more formally, either to augment their offline support programs, or to provide information to their clients in a timely fashion. There are lots of possibilities, and we can help your explore your options. These private message areas can only be seen by the people you wish to have access to them. Other ability online members cannot see them.

    We have outlined the general responsibilities to be shared by the Partner Organization and Ability Online. We will work closely with your organization to have your community set-up and running quickly and successfully.

     

    Ability Online’s Responsibility

    Partner Responsibility

    Provide a private message area within Ability Online

    Provide a name and description for the forum

    Provide training for the individual(s) who will be monitoring the message area in accordance with Ability Online rules and procedures

    Provide a minimum of one individual (We call our Monitors   “Hosts”) to monitor the conference; inform Ability Online if a member’s access should be restricted. Follow Ability Online rules and procedures for online behavior.

    Provide information pieces to be shared with clients from the partner organization

    Promote the e-community to your clients

    Provide technical support as required

    Ask for assistance when required

    We can provide reports on message/member activity within your private community

    Maintain activity level in conference by having individuals promote on and offline; have your “Monitor”/Host generate discussion ideas to keep the conference vibrant

    Close conference upon request from partner organization

    Inform Ability Online if and when you no longer require this conference

     

    If you are interested in setting up a private community for your clients please email michelle@abilityonline.orgor call Michelle at 416-650-6207, or toll free 1-866-650-6207. We can set the community up very quickly –you just have to get your clients to register with a special access code we will give you and then you are ready to go.

     

    RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES

    Clinical research has validated the effectiveness and impact of our online program as a means of providing information, networking and skill development opportunities. Research Projects conducted to date on Ability Online include:

    • “Communication Features in an Online group for Fathers of Children with Spina Bifida” (Hospital for Sick Children & the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association, 2003);
    • “Online Support for Adolescents with CP and SB”, University of Alberta & Alberta Children’s Hospital, 2005);
    • “Evaluation of an Online Peer Support Network for Adolescents with End Stage Renal Disease” (Hospital for Sick Children, 2007);
    • “Asthma & Allergy Peer Online Study” (University of Alberta, 2008);
    • “Online Peer support Network for Parents of Children with Chronic Kidney Disease” (HSC, Stollery Hospital, BC Women & Children’s Hospital; Hamilton Health Sciences, 2009).

     

    We provide private forums as the platform for the research projects. Researchers are responsible for obtaining the funding for the research which includes a small amount for Ability Online ($1500-2000 –depending on the amount of support required from Ability Online) and for recruiting participants for their research projects. If you are interested in learning more, please call Michelle at 416-650-6207 (toll free 1-866-650-6207) or email michelle@abilityonline.org