By Michelle Crean

 

Eight Transition Year students from Killarney called ‘The Connected Four’ are leading an awareness campaign around the issues of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.

As part of their Young Social Innovators (YSI) project, the students from Killarney Community College want to highlight the lack of education around these conditions saying there isn’t enough accessible resources and supporting communities.

The Connected Four, who are Luke O’Sullivan, Rachel Griffin, Lulu Healy, Amy O’Donoghue, Eva Ryan Lynch, Keelyn O’Leary, Lauren Fleming and Jack O’Connell, believe that change is needed not just because there isn’t enough information on the conditions, but because there’s so much stigma.

“The reason why we chose this issue is, we all know someone, either family or friend who has been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions,” Luke O’Sullivan said.

“As for most of the members in our YSI group, they have recognised the flaws in our society. Whereas, from the inside looking out, I can confirm experience of misunderstanding and the overall lack of education in our community.”

MAKING AN IMPRESSION

On Wednesday, Luke, Rachel and Eva, were the only school in Kerry, and just one of 10 projects in Munster, to take part at the YSI ‘Dragon’s Den’ via Zoom where they wowed the judges.

Paul Kelly from Unilever, Tim Butler from Virgin Media and Mary Roche from Tusla were impressed with the pitch and presentation which included an idea of creating a children’s book of stories, aimed at Junior Infants to Second Class, around the four conditions with the theme of diversity.

The students received a cheque for €500 from the dragons to invest in their project. They have also been offered mentoring from Paul Kelly, Marketing Developer of Unilever, to guide them in the right direction with their book.

“The passion, the knowledge, the energy that the students showed on the day left the dragons ‘gobsmacked’! I am so proud of each and every one of these students and the initiative they show, even throughout lockdown, is an inspiration to all,” Lorraine Crowley, YSI Guide from KCC said

The group have very active social media accounts and a new YouTube channel is also being set up by the group to voice people’s experiences and knowledge from interviews they are currently doing remotely online.