I am delighted to be connected with Leap. Since having attended one of their family leadership weekends back in 2012 my outlook for Liam’s future has been full of aspirations envisioning what “a good life” could look like for us. I have attended many Leap events since that time. Thank you so much Rachel Cassen and team for your inspiring work.
Leap were able to effectively manage the set up and delivery of training to a range of participants in various venues around the country. They were always professional, punctual and courteous. They managed a range of diverse situations and learning groups with skill and diplomacy. Their training and workshops were highly engaging and were designed and delivered to an extremely high standard. Training content and handouts were clear and concise even whilst covering complex topics. Training was well paced and utilised a range of methodologies including discussion and facilitated reflection, small group work and values clarification. I would have no hesitation in recommending Leap as a training provider.
This is just to say a huge thank you to you for yesterday’s ‘Creating a Good Life’ course in Galway. For the first time since our lovely boy was diagnosed, I am filled with enthusiasm and hope about how we as a family can help him to have a great future.
Leap provided us with fantastic support on working with families. The two days of training they delivered provided staff with an honest platform to discuss proactive ways to engage families, to understand what is service business and what is family business, as well as reflection on their roles. The training provided a way of valuing and enhancing the role support workers provide and feedback indicated staff really appreciated the opportunity to learn and develop their skills and understanding. We look forward to working with you again! Thank you.
Parent feedback to the Autism Services was extremely positive and encouraging. There were a number of key responses from parents who attended the workshops. Parents advised that the workshops offered a safe supportive place to discuss the “real practical issues” for them as family units. It offered an opportunity to explore and challenge the value they place on their own roles, strength and capacity as parents /carers and where they and their children “fit” in society. Parents report an enhanced confidence in determining the pathways for their children advising they had an increased sense of “hope” and “empowerment”. Parents acknowledged that they are more willing and confident in ensuring their child is involved in their local community thus developing and widening the “natural” supports available to them as a family. Parents reported a clearer understanding of the role of support services in relation to their family. Parents who were in attendance advised they would recommend the workshops to other parents/ carers.
Very valuable – the best information, positive, beneficial. More so than any meetings that I have attended since my son’s diagnosis Thank-you.
For the last 6 years I have worked closely with Rachel Cassen, Director of Leap, on a number of projects, and am constantly impressed by her dedication, energy and capabilities in bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to work towards a common goal. The Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway has a strong relationship with Leap, which began with Leap’s involvement in research on the personalisation of supports for people with disabilities in Ireland. Following the publication of the Assisted Decision-Making Capacity Bill in July 2013, our Centre, in partnership with Leap and Inclusion Ireland, hosted the first set of national seminars to explain the Bill to people with disabilities and their families. As a result, I was invited by Leap to form the ‘Self-Directed Living Research Group’ – bringing together families, self-advocates, disability service providers and brokers with a shared interest in community living. We jointly chaired the group, and sought out funding opportunities for our work – securing a small grant from the Irish Research Council for a series of workshops and a research report on the experiences of people with disabilities and their families in using individualised funding to create good lives in the community. The workshops we held around the country for this project led to the publication of a dynamic research report, which documented the important lessons learned by people with disabilities and their families on their journeys towards self-directed living. This research was well-received globally and was cited as an example of good practice during the plenary session of a conference in Vancouver in October 2015 entitled ‘Claiming full citizenship – an international conference on self-determination, personalisation and individualised funding.’ Since the completion of the report, Leap has gone on to develop the project further with a new group of families and we have continued to collaborate and support Leap’s work in the fields of inclusive education and equal citizenship. For example, Leap presented at our annual summer school in June 2019 on the subject of young people with disabilities belonging to families and communities. Rachel is always a pleasure to work with and someone whose vision and integrity I greatly admire.
When I came away after the Leap weekend I was on fire. I really think it’s the way forward and it has really filled in the gap in my head that was missing. I think it’s brilliant for all agencies to be involved but I think the real change has to be on the ground through families! Families and their aspirations for their loved ones really change things especially in extended family, neighbours, community and society. Always remember you can read books, study it but we are the ones who live and breathe this every day of our lives.
I want to say thank you for the wonderful course that I was lucky enough to attend today. This morning I had no idea of what lay ahead of me and I thought it was going to be another one of those courses/gatherings where people moan about the lack of services and where I might pick up perhaps one or two ideas, but how wrong could I be. As a mum to two children with ‘disabilities’ (however I’m not sure I agree with this word) a fourteen-year-old and a seven-year-old whom both struggle to conform and fit in, I learnt that my children have so much to offer society. I learnt the importance of celebrating and building on what my children can do, not what they can’t. I met some amazing people that are on similar paths to me and we learnt and supported each other and I look forward to meeting up with them all soon. I cannot recommend this course enough and if you get the chance take a few hours out and attend it. Oh, I forgot to say most importantly I see hope for the future. Thank you again.