Inspired Keeps Participants In Touch Through Online Programme

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Taylor Maher with Inspired participants interacting on Zoom.

INSPIRED have ensured that their participants can keep in touch with the delivery of iPads to them during the lockdown.

Inspired recently developed a ‘Cocoon & Connect-Ability Programme’ for their participants in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

Inspired, based in  Friary lane, Tralee, supports over 50 individuals with Intellectual Disability on a weekly basis delivering lifelong learning, work placement, community integration and school transition programmes .

Inspired Manager Liz Maher said that they quickly recognised that the effects of total isolation would come as a shock to all of their participants and they would all have to scramble to adapt to a new, more solitary reality of spending weeks alone and indoors.

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“COVID-19 has made cocooning a new global reality, as governments and health organisations around the world are begging us to stay home,” says  Liz. “However, for those with an Intellectual Disability it’s a much darker, scarier cocooning, one that resembles survivalism, having to bunker down and spend a lot of time alone.

“Our first thought was that we must look at wrapping our most vulnerable to protect their mental health, and look at innovative solutions to deliver meaning and purpose to each day of isolation.”

Liz Maher and Inspired Director Maree O’Connor, discussed options available them and luckily enough, throughout the course of 2019, Inspired set out  to raise funds to purchase 12 iPads for participants.

According to Maree; “The present unpredictable situation is difficult for all of us to make sense of. It is particularly stressful for people who have an Intellectual Disability. Being unable to understand why the routine has changed suddenly – and without being part of the decision-making process – can make adjusting difficult.

“It is also hard for them to make sense of why they aren’t interacting with people who they’re close with. We will be asked to cocoon for as long as is necessary to flatten the curve and in the meantime, Inspired intend to put supports in place to  make it bearable. So we have developed an online “Cocoon & Connect-Ability” Programme which will allow our participants to keep active throughout the day and stay in touch, starving off the mental isolation as much as possible.”

“The online programme will allow participants to not only stay active but equally will allow time to group chat on a social level by incorporating a friendship club and encourage Connect-ability”.

Inspired staff members worked endlessly to make it happen and while Liz and Taylor Maher investigated programme content and the latest and most user friendly technology, other staff members such supervisor Patricia O’Connor and facilitators made contact with parents to investigate their wifi access and home iPad availability.

Just ahead of the announcement of restrictive measures on Friday, March 28th Inspired staff delivered the last iPads to participants’ homes.

Unfortunately, due to lack of iPads, Inspired were unable to facilitate all participants and those who had access to their own technology were assisted in setting up the programme.

Inspired set up a go fund me page to help raise funds to purchase additional iPads and provide additional tutorials. To Donate go to:

Inspired is funded through the HSE, Bon Secours Hospital, Tralee and the Pobal Ability Programme. To contact Inspired:  E-mail- or call 087 3401208

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