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Embrun couple launch online business helping those with special needs

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A family-run business out of Embrun is tackling the challenges faced by those with autism and special needs, launching an online store with the goal of creating a sense of community.

“We want to be more than just a business that sells things. Your life changes in such a dramatic way when you have a child with special needs, she’s our inspiration for everything that we do,” said Kim Vincent, co-owner of Ability Hive.

Six years ago, Kim Vincent and his wife Josee Martel’s eight-year-old daughter Sage was diagnosed with autism.

“She did hit some milestones and then she stopped talking. She became silent and then for like two years she didn’t say a word,” said Martel.

For her parents, it lead them on a journey that wasn’t easy, navigating waitlists, appointments and choosing the right products.

“We tried so many things for our daughter because our daughter needs a lot of regulation, so we tried different things for her bedding, weighted items,” said Martel.

Through all the searching when they did come across something they liked, finding it was a different story.

“If you do find them, it’s sort of like, ‘I can get this here, and I can get this there.’ Sometimes you have to get it from the States and bring it over and then you have customs to deal with,” said Vincent.

So, they decided to bring their favourite products together, creating an online business for those with special needs. They called it Ability Hive.

“Anyone can benefit from these products, including OT’s, speech therapists, ABA therapists, caregivers, schools, parents, those who are disabled themselves,” said Martel.

But they’re not just creating a business, they’re creating a community, raising awareness through their blog, The Big Impact and highlighting different people with various disabilities.

They also donate a percentage of their sales from products and merchandise to local non-profits who serve the autism and special needs communities.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and we're able to say, ‘Okay, so does your child need, pressure?’ ‘Does he run a lot?’ ‘Does he need to sit quietly?’ So we can actually refer to some of the items that we have here and try to help, but that's because we've been through with our daughter.”

They only launched March 1, but their goal is to one day open a brick-and-mortar store staffed by those with disabilities, along with a space for the community.

“We’d love to be able to do that. It’s a big task, but I think, you know, we’ve got big dreams and aspirations,” said Vincent.

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