As educational institutions are set to be closed off until the next scholastic year, this has also meant a suspension of educational and therapeutic services offered by Inspire Foundation to persons with developmental disorders and those with physical and intellectual disabilities.
“The Foundation needed to act fast to establish how we could continue to provide a service that would ensure continuity of care, prevent regression and still remain connected to our service users remotely. As a result, our team of dedicated tutors and therapists shifted to provide this alternative form of intervention which has been extremely well received” Paula Doumanov, Chief Services Officer said.
Because of the different abilities of each service-user, the services offered at Inspire Foundation are personalised accordingly, and this will continue being the case in the virtual support being offered. Tutors and therapists are preparing personalised work programmes that are sent out on a weekly basis. These programmes, which reflect the services usually offered in the best way possible, comprise of educational, therapeutic and physical activities, using resources that one has available at home. Staff members are available to answer any questions and advise relatives on these home programmes as well as any other concerns or fears they might have.
In order for Inspire to ensure the success of this intervention, it was essential to identify the most convenient and meaningful means of communication for all concerned & to provide ideal timeslots to parents/guardians for consultation and guidance by tutors, therapists and programme leaders. Furthermore, parent support is being provided online.
Therapeutic conversations that support parents/guardians to reflect, discuss and decide on a way forward that will help the family handle the uncertainty and isolation experienced during this time and/or other issues family members might be facing. The Foundation has also set up a public online page, where it provides resources that can be useful for parents/guardians of disabled people, in the current circumstances.
“Our families are experiencing different challenges during this time. These are various, such as; trying to settle their children in a new routine; finding different ways to motivate their children, to do work they usually do at Inspire/school; sensory difficulties that may have come about in the midst of COVID-19, whilst at the same time handling personal challenges that we all face in this life,” Charlene Borg, Parent Relations Manager said. “Our mission is to walk alongside these families, letting them know they are not alone. Providing a safe space (although virtually) for shelter, rest and dialogue, so they can keep moving forward in their journey as parents/caregivers of disabled people.”
Mariella Pulis’s daughter, Ylenia, attends Inspire’s STEP Early Intervention programme, which is a specialised programme for young children on the autism spectrum. “I am very satisfied with the service and the workplans provided. We are doing our utmost to complete all the work and I am very satisfied with the video calls and communication provided with the tutor and the speech therapist,” she says.
Inevitably, the Foundation’s income channels, such as the fitness centre, charity shops and fundraising streams have also been impacted negatively. If you would like to support the foundation during this sensitive time, you can do so here.