Ottawa Parents Create a Hive to Celebrate Abilities

Nearly 130,000 people in Ontario live with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, while one to two percent of Canadians have some form of Autusm.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition affecting brain development that often causes individuals with Autism to exhibit repetitive behaviour and face challenges with communication and social interactions. Additionally, people with ASD can have a limited range of interests and activities.

Embrun resident Kim Vincent and his wife Jossee know a lot about Autism. When their daughter Sage was two years old, she was diagnosed with a low functioning Autism that makes verbal communication difficult for her. Recently, the Vincents decided they could do more than just be supportive parents to their daughter.

The couple saw accessible events celebrated in other Canadian cities, which prompted them to do something similar in their community. Kim Vincent says, “I was looking out the window. . .  and I said to my wife, I think I am going to do it.” The Vincents thought of ways they could make an inclusive Halloween celebration accessible for neurodivergent and disabled kids, something that would take place during daylight hours and provide the fun of trick or treating for the kids who can’t manage nighttime trick or treating.

They decided it had to be something without the scares, accessibility difficulties, and anxiety of going up to strangers’ doors. They knew that it had to be free of large crowds, as they can be overwhelming, and it could not include loud or surprising noises.

After a Facebook feeler received positive feedback, the Vincents began creating a website, which they launched within a couple of days. The accessible Halloween received the support of the mayor of the Township of Russell, who got behind the community initiative. The mid-afternoon Halloween celebration took place on October 28th, with 17 houses along the Vincent’s street partaking in the fun.

The family event was so well received that the Vincents figured they could do more to help autistic and disabled communities. It wasn’t long before the duo launched the Ability Hive online store. Kim Vincent says the ultimate goal is to “Raise awareness and give back.” Ability Hive sells products that help make life easier for kids with developmental and physical disabilities. The products on offer can aid with habits and ticks while enriching lives and helping people out.

The Ability Hive site offers everything from weighted blankets and toys that provide the sensation of being hugged to calm kids who are panicking to special chairs and seating, chews for kids who might otherwise bite nails, and inclusive fashion.

Two percent of product sales will go to local charities that work with disabled and autistic people, along with five percent of the sales of their fashion line — t-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.

The dream is to eventually open an accessible brick-and-mortar store staffed by disabled employees with a community space to showcase their talents in different workshops. Kim Vincents says, “To have someone in a wheelchair at the cash who’s able to check someone out … that would be the ultimate goal.” Kim Vincent points out that the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is almost double that of the general population, and a store staffed by PWDs would be a positive step toward breaking down the stigma.

Ability Hive plans to continue celebrating accessible Halloween, but this year, the event will be earlier in October when the weather is still warm. The company also has a monthly blog, called The Big Impact Blog, tailored to persons with disabilities. The recent issue features an interview with Travis Iverson of Iver Fashion, who designed and released a popular clothing line last year to support his custom-made clothing for people with disabilities.

To celebrate the launch of Ability Hive, Overflow Brewing Company hosted a launch party on March 23rd. Ottawa Photographer Sean Sisk was on hand to take photos. Those in attendance volunteered to model Ability Hive’s clothing line. Vincent proudly said, “We thought, let’s include the community. The idea was a hit, and entire families volunteered to show off the new clothing line.”

Find Ability Hive at and follow them on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on news and events, including Halloween 2024!

Photos by Sean Sisk Photography