About LeapLeap is a family-led, non-profit organisation that works on behalf of children and adults with disabilities and their families.
Leap is a family-led, non-profit organisation that works on behalf of children and adults with disabilities and their families. We work with families, their supporters and allies, people with disabilities, service providers and others. We focus our efforts on increasing expectations of what is possible in the lives of people with disabilities. We assist people and families to take action on what matters to them towards the goal of a good life, an ordinary life.
We assist families to build a vision of a good life and focus on relationships, belonging and socially valued roles for their family member with a disability. Leap works with families to develop their leadership skills by increasing their understanding of how to bring about positive change in the life of their family member with a disability.
We understand that when families are in a state of resignation and/or hopelessness and have not had opportunities to access support, they frequently place the responsibility for a good life at the door of the service system.
We actively support
We actively support the least restrictive, most inclusive environment for people with disabilities
We provide a range of opportunities for families to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively promote the uniqueness and interests of their own family member. We base our educational work on powerful theories and approaches including Social Role Valorisation (SRV) and Local Area Coordination.
We encourage families and service providers to move away from a focus on the persons impairment and toward a more holistic understanding of what the person and family wants. People and families’ fundamental needs are for inclusion, participation relationships, value and respect. From this perspective, we support the full integration of people with disabilities and do not promote models which advocate separate settings.
We know that people do better when their families are vested in their future, are connected to positive networks and are imbued with a sense of hope.
To assist families to take action for an inclusive life
Who we are
Leap started out in 2009 as a group of family members and professional allies (people who worked in services who knew the system and who were invited in to support family members in doing things a different way). Each person in the group believed that families got very little support and training to engage with supports and services.
The group came together to coordinate a suite of training for families of people with intellectual disabilities and Autism in areas such as Circles of Support, Communication, Person Centred Planning, Advocacy etc. In 2011, Rachel Cassen and Claire Murphy ran a number of Family Leadership Adventure Breaks where families got an opportunity to come together and talk, have fun and learn together and Leap as a social enterprise was born.
The duo won a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Elevator Award in 2012 in recognition of their work. Today, Leap is led by Rachel who is supported by a number of associates who believe in the vision and values that Leap is working towards.
Director of Leap
Rachel thinks that it is through people’s connections that change happens and that it is our relationships that pave the way for us to imagine, experience and enjoy a life rich in opportunity and personal growth.
Trevor Hewitt is a member of Leap’s Board of Directors. Drawing on over a decade of experience in the community and voluntary sector, Trevor is passionate about creating the right environment for people to enjoy an inclusive life.
In 2011, Trevor was introduced to a theory of practice called Social Role Valorisation (SRV) which has been transformative in his work. Trevor’s implementation of SRV in his own work has acted as a catalyst for change and helped break down the barriers that can get in the way of people achieving a good life.
Trevor takes a continuous approach to education and self-improvement by regularly attending relevant workshops and seminars and by keeping up to date with international best practice. Trevor has an Honours Degree in Social Policy. He has experience in the areas of change management, meaningful employment, workshop facilitation and policy formation.
He holds a black belt in karate as well as being a keen sports and music fan. Trevor is married to Angela and they have one daughter.
Francis Murphy Cassen