Footballer David Drake, with the large attendance, cutting the tape for the opening of Sensational Kids at the Lakeside Retail Park in Claremorris. Photo: Frank Dolan

Sensational Kids opens in Claremorris

THERE are currently 1 in 4 children diagnosed with additional needs in Ireland such as autism, dyspraxia, dyslexia, down syndrome and other developmental delays. There are 45,000 children on waiting lists for speech and language therapy and occupational therapy and unfortunately children can wait up to four years to access vital early intervention services through the public system.

Due to the demand of children needing these services, children’s charity Sensational Kids opened in Claremorris last Tuesday, providing speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and educational psychological assessments to children of all ages in the west of Ireland.

There are already 140 families registered on their waiting lists due to the demand for their services.

Sensational Kids was founded in 2008 by Karen Leigh. Frustrated at the lack of available support for her own children, Karen started out with a dream to make early intervention services such as speech and language therapy and occupational therapy affordable and accessible for children with additional needs. To date, Sensational Kids have helped the lives of nearly 6,000 children with additional needs throughout Ireland, saving their families over €1.3 million in therapy fees.

Said Karen: “We see first-hand the effect that delayed treatment can have on children’s lives and their future. Waiting for assessments and treatment often means that the child must wait to participate fully in school, has to wait to develop confidence or has to wait to build positive relationships with their friends. Early intervention is key.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the community in Mayo who have already supported us so much. As a charity, we rely on the community’shelp to continue to provide our services and we are so grateful for all your support.”

Any parent who has a question or a concern about their child’s development can call by and get advice from one of the therapists. Appointments can be made by calling (094) 9357005.