Why We Exist
Why...here is an example. Dale is a nonverbal 7-year old with ASD, and he’s been learning to skate. One of his challenges is putting on a helmet - usually he needs his mom to hold his hands while someone else quickly puts it on his head. Even with two people it’s never an easy task. On Monday at his home, Dale was given compressions on his hands and head by a therapist and an aid. To everyone’s surprise, he put on his helmet all by himself. It might seem like a small accomplishment to some, but it was a giant leap towards Dale developing his own independence.
In 1979 several parents of children with cerebral palsy had a need for hands-on expertise with a compassionate approach. They banded together to create a specialized program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and started providing expertise, information, and clinical services to families who had children with severe special needs. From this rich beginning, the organization grew.
We’re now known as Ability4Good, a non-profit that provides critical programs and services for persons with special-needs diagnoses from childhood to adults. We’re proud to be one of the earliest social enterprises in Canada, which means that we’re a financially self-sustaining organization that invests in our community.
We’re able to adapt and respond to the changing needs present in the community we serve. While we provide a wide range of services and infrastructure, our core mission is to combine our empathetic sense of care with technical capability to help families adapt and grow with the challenges they face.
What We Do
Our programs and services help over 300 children (aged 2-17) and their families every month. While the majority of children we support are diagnosed with Autism, we also specialize in Global Developmental Delay, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome and other diagnoses.
Many of the families we support struggle with poverty, single parenthood, and isolation. In fact, 60% of our clients are immigrants (more than double Calgary’s average). To help children progress and grow, we take a holistic approach that considers not just their needs, but the larger context and strengths of their home life.
What You Can Do
While we’re a self-sufficient organization, some extra financial assistance would help us better meet client needs:
- Increase Accessibility ($150,000): Our steep stairs make some programs out of reach for clients with mobility issues. An elevator would give them full access to our facilities and the help they deserve.
- Volunteer Coordination ($50,000): Development of a high-quality volunteer program including Volunteer Guidebook, job descriptions, and postings of positions.
- Sensory Room ($15,000): Requires updated materials to assist clients of all ages with special needs to relax and explore their senses.
- Tablets or iPads ($10,000): These are an indispensable resource that enable non-verbal children with autism to communicate with their family.
- Musical Instruments ($6,000): No one can deny the power of music! We can help clients find their rhythm and emotional regulation through drumming, chimes, and other instruments.
- Art, Craft, Cooking, and Science Project Supplies ($7,500): Our Thrive & Strive programs have a constant need for materials to engage children in exploring their world and expressing themselves
- Clinical Software ($7,500): Specialized software would be an invaluable tool to be used for assessment and therapy within our programs.