When schools closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, young people with intellectual disabilities (ID) and their families were seeking alternative education sources and new innovative ways to socially interact.
Blossom Ireland launched a suite of digital services for young people with ID including a new pizza making video and step-by-step tutorial in partnership with head chef Richie Wilson of Fire Restaurant in Dublin and his son Ben (16).
The home cooking tutorial ensured all young people across Ireland were included in the home cooking craze that swept up amidst the lockdown. Auveen Bell, Blossom Ireland CEO, said “Young people with ID struggle to live a life like any other. Our partnership with Richie and Ben demonstrates that with the right environment and accessible tools; they can achieve as many things as their peers.”
The tutorial is bolstered by accessible online resources on themes such as daily planning, time management, and how to use messenger apps such as WhatsApp. Simple language, pictures, and symbols are used throughout to make them accessible to all. Parents and guardians are encouraged to join but the hosts are directly interacting with the young people, which is a unique approach. Blossom also launched zoom yoga classes and Digital Café meetups for Blossom’s service users.
The new supports saw a surge in activity on Blossom’s online channels, with website traffic up 900% month on month. Blossom is the only charity in Ireland offering supports of this kind to young people with intellectual disabilities and believes that the lockdown has proven its potential to expand its services to young people beyond Dublin via online channels in the weeks and months to come.
All resources are available for free online: https://blossomireland.ie/blog/