Together, we will work to make our community the most disability friendly in the nation by increasing independence for people with disabilities, discovering true passions, and changing the community’s perception of disability.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the core of who we are. We are committed to fostering, cultivating, and preserving a culture of belonging by changing perceptions, and discovering true passions.
ADVOCATES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. CATALYSTS FOR ALL THEY CAN ACHIEVE.
One in four people have a disability that impacts the way they connect with the world around them.
The Ability Center works as an advocate and thought leader, changing both attitudes and real world conditions for people with disabilities.
We advocate, educate, partner, and provide services supporting people with disabilities to thrive within their community. Though there’s much work to be done, we’re closer than ever to realizing the fulfillment of that mission.
Since our inception in 1920, we’ve constantly adapted our programming to meet current needs—always aiming it at creating greater independence and stronger connection to the community.
Take a Better Look.
At first glance, people might not view Amanda Bell as someone living with a disability. That suits Amanda fine because she would prefer that people see her as the independent person she is.
At first look, Amanda Bell appears to be a typical finance administrator, poring over The Ability Center’s payroll and payable figures with meticulous detail.
People can also be surprised that Amanda has spina bifida, a congenital disability that occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly. The condition primarily affects Amanda’s legs and gait, and that can cause some people to stare at her.
“People I meet often ask what’s wrong with me or what I did to my leg, in a good-natured way, as if I recently injured myself,” says Amanda. “Before they learn about my disability, many are unable to see past it.”
Amanda graduated from Whitmer High School and has an Associate of Business Degree in Office Administration from Owens Community College. She relishes spending time with loved ones, especially her husband. She enjoys camping and kayaking and finds being in nature peaceful and relaxing.
Amanda loves helping others and is proud that The Ability Center promotes independence. She has grown to accept that people will occasionally stare, but she wishes everyone would look beyond her disability to see the kind, dependable, and self-reliant person she is.
“I wish the world would get to the point where we look at each other as just people, instead of focusing so much on everyone’s differences,” she says.