How the Abilities Network Works


The Abilities Network helps disabled people and their families. See more parenting pictures.
©iStockphoto.com/Dmitriy Yakovlev

Every parent wants happy, healthy children, but if you have a child with a disability, you need more than just a horde of doctors offering you medical advice. Living with a disability is a day-to-day struggle not just for the child, but also for the parents, siblings, family members and friends. Thanks to organizations like the Abilities Network, parents and families of disabled children can get the help and support they need.

In 1964, the Epilepsy Association of Maryland was founded by doctors and parents of children with epilepsy who recognized the importance of providing more than just medical care to people with epilepsy. As time went on, the organization began to offer services for children with various types of disabilities, and in 2000, the Abilities Network was born [source: Abilities Network]. Today, the Abilities Network is a nonprofit organization that provides customized services for disabled children and adults throughout the state of Maryland. Through its services, the Abilities Network strives to help disabled people reach their goals and maximize their potential while fostering greater community awareness and inclusion through various advocacy, education and training programs [source: Abilities Network].

The Abilities Network has experience helping children with a wide spectrum of disabilities, including:

  • Autism
  • Blindness
  • Epilepsy
  • Mental disorders
  • Orthopedic impairments
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language impairments
  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neurological disorders

[source: Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration].

Keep reading to learn more about how the Abilities Network can help you and your family.

Using the Abilities Network

The Abilities Network offers a variety of services for people of all ability levels, and some of these services include:

  • Autism Services - Autism is a neurological disorder that disrupts the normal development of the areas of the brain responsible for social interaction and communication. Founded in 2003, Autism Services works with individuals ages one to 21 to help them develop skills to play, socialize and live as independently as possible. The program offers one-on-one services, family training and short-term childcare. Parents can register their child for the Autism Waiver to receive specific waiver services and certain Medicaid services to help them in their home and community. Parents can also purchase services directly from the Abilities Network if they don't receive covered services [source: Abilities Network].
  • Community and Employment Partners - This program provides one-on-one support to disabled people to help them find jobs and live independently. Services range from writing resumes and preparing for job interviews to budgeting, banking, housing and transportation [source: Abilities Network].
  • Epilepsy Services - This program offers support groups and financial assistance to people with epilepsy and their families, and it helps them get the resources they need in their schools and community.

For more information on specific services for you or your child, contact your local Abilities Network [source: Carroll County Public Library].

Read the next page to learn more about the benefits of the Abilities Network.

Benefits of the Abilities Network

The biggest benefit of the Abilities Network is its commitment to providing customized services that meet the specific needs of each person. Volunteers are trained to work closely with children and their families to determine the services and resources that will be most beneficial to them at home, at school and in the community [source: Abilities Network].

Another great benefit of the Abilities Network is its focus on educating the community to help bolster awareness and involvement regarding disabled people. Project ACT (All Children Together) strives to bring together parents, childcare professionals and other education and service agencies to help children of all ability levels achieve success in the community. Through Project ACT, the Abilities Network offers training programs for teachers and childcare professionals that help them adapt their curriculum for disabled children. The program also teaches families and caregivers tips and strategies for helping their child at home, and it works with families at their school to ensure that a child is getting the most out of his or her educational experience [source: Abilities Network].

The Abilities Network is an organization that's creating positive changes in the community by helping disabled people and their families live the best lives possible. For more information on the Abilities Network and the services it offers, see the links on the following page.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

Sources

  • Abilities Network. "About Us." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/about/
  • Abilities Network. "Autism Services: About Autism." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/autism/
  • Abilities Network. "Autism Services: About Our Program." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/autism/about.html
  • Abilities Network. "Community and Employment Partners: How We Can Help." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/partners/help/html
  • Abilities Network. "Epilepsy Services: How We Can Help." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/epilepsy/efc.html
  • Abilities Network. "How to Help." (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/give/
  • Abilities Network. "Healthy Families." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/epilepsy/efc.html
  • Abilities Network. "Project ACT: About Our Training." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/act/training.html
  • Abilities Network. "Support Services: About Our Program." 2007 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.abilitiesnetwork.org/services/support/
  • Carroll County Public Library. "Organization Full Listing -- Abilities Network." Directory of Community Services Carroll County, Maryland. 21 July 2009 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://community.carr.org/fullrecord.asp?record=161
  • Maryland Developmental Disabilities Administration. "Abilities Network." 2008 (Accessed 12/23/09) http://www.dhmh.state.md.us/dda_md/abilities.htm