Laois students' SenseAbility blankets helping people with Alzheimers and Autism

Mini company

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois students' SenseAbility blankets helping  people with Alzheimers and Autism

Four Heywood CS students have turned their school mini-company project into a real business to help people with Dementia and Autism.

SenseAbility, run by Ellen McWey, Arianna Mezzapelle, Ruth Bergin and Megan Walsh, is selling hospital quality, machine washable sensory blankets that offer tactile stimulation, relaxation and help motor skills.

Dragon’s Den star Alison Cowzer has mentored the girls, telling them there is a real need for their product.

“We have witnessed first-hand the slow deterioration of a person because of Alzheimer’s Disease. We felt that there was a lack of effective sensory aids in the Irish market, it is a project that is very close to our hearts,” said Ellen.

After designing a prototype and getting feedback from the dementia centre in St James's Hospital and from craftmakers, they went into production, using new and recycled materials, buttons and shoelaces, using a professional dressmaker.

“The feedback is incredible. One boy with autism learnt to tie his own shoes, while a woman with Alzheimer’s is less worried and her relatives say it helps calm her,” said Arianna.

SenseAbility has been awarded first place in the Laois Student Enterprise Awards, and will represent the county at the national final in Croke Park on May 3.

Order on 085 2514212 or via Facebook at SenseAbility.