Ten years ago, frustrated at the lack of available supports for her own children, our founder Karen Leigh, started out with a dream to make early intervention services such as speech & language therapy and occupational therapy affordable and accessible for children with additional needs.
Today Sensational Kids is an innovative, award winning social enterprise positively impacting the lives thousands of children with additional needs throughout Ireland.
Take a look at what we do in our short video
Sensational Kids is an award winning, innovative social enterprise established in 2007. We are a community & voluntary organisation (registered charity) that does not receive any state funding and is governed by our voluntary board of directors. CEO, Karen Leigh is the founding member of Sensational Kids. Having experienced lengthy waiting lists and a lack of affordable and accessible occupational therapy services for her own children, Karen founded Sensational Kids, bridging the gap between public and private services. Sensational Kids employs 21 staff, including a highly skilled clinical team across our sites in Kildare and Cork. Planning to open a third centre in Connacht in 2018, supported by our experienced voluntary board of directors, Sensational Kids is set to become Ireland’s leading provider of affordable and accessible early intervention services for children in Ireland.
A lack of affordable support services for children who are experiencing developmental delays, or those that have special educational needs, means that too many children in Ireland are struggling to reach their full potential. The figures themselves are startling;
- 1 in 4 children in Ireland has a special educational need
- More than 15,000 were waiting for a speech and language therapy assessment at the end of last year, according to figures obtained by The Irish Times. It represents a 20 per cent increase in the waiting list during 2015.
- WAITING LISTS FOR occupational therapy consultations have jumped to a massive extent in less than two years.
Newly-released figures show that the numbers waiting for such treatment have increased by just under 50% since August 2015. There are now 29,688 people waiting on a first-time consultancy (as at the end of May this year), up 9,675 (48%) since August two years ago. The largest group of people on the list is children and teenagers. Nearly half the entire total, 14,594 people, are made up of those aged 17 or younger. Over a third of that group alone, 5,271, have been waiting for more than a year
Identifying and treating these difficulties at a young age will give a child a much better quality of life, but with lengthy public waiting lists, often the only alternative for families is expensive private sector care.
Experiencing these difficulties first-hand, Karen became frustrated with the lengthy waiting lists her family faced in Ireland, not to mention the €120 an hour fees they had to pay for private occupational therapy. Determined to make a difference, she set out to create an affordable and accessible service that families like hers could benefit from. Established in 2007, Sensational Kids operates as a child development centre, providing three key offerings for children and their families; subsidised services for children in need of additional support, a child development and learning store providing a range of skill building toys and therapy products, and professional development training workshops for those working with children with special needs. Collectively, these services are ensuring that the children benefitting from them can improve their skills and maximise their potential.
Since 2009 Sensational Kids has directly supported 4,700 children from all over Ireland at our Leinster Child Development Centre. Thanks to the fantastic work of the entire team, these children are now being given the opportunity to excel.
With our online store and retail shop helping to subsidise their services, Sensational Kids has already saved families in Ireland over €700,000 in therapy fees alone, providing a practical, accessible, and affordable service for those in need.
Each year 500+ professionals benefit from upskilling through our range of professional development training workshops.
Sensational Kids caters for a wide range of sectors including
- Early Intervention for children with additional needs, with and without a diagnosis (all abilities)
- Professional development training for those who work with children with additional needs
- Resources for organisations in education, and clinical service provision, child development, professionals, individuals, and
Our service model is built around three pillars:
- Child Development and Learning Centres in every province in Ireland
- Child and Development and Learning store, with a physical store in Kildare and online ecommerce website
- Professional Development Training Workshops
The Child Development and Learning Centres are solely funded through revenue streams from the other two pillars and through fundraising efforts.
Child Development Centres
Our service offering at our Child Development Centres includes early intervention and assessments for children of all abilities, including those with additional needs.
- Occupational therapy assessments and intervention
- Speech & Language therapy assessments and intervention
- Educational Psychological Assessments
- Play Therapy
- Specialist reading tuition for struggling readers
- Wipe Out Worries Group
- Social Skills Groups
- Feeding Groups
To be the leading, innovative, child development social enterprise in Ireland
To provide affordable, accessible family centred, clinical and educational services, and products to children of all abilities, through therapy, training and professional support that directly impacts lives
Our Main Objective:
“To promote the health and welfare of children with special needs and children in need of additional supports by managing and operating a centre in County Kildare to enable such children to develop to their full potential by providing clinical assessments, occupational therapy, sensory integration therapy, speech and language therapy, psychological services and evidence-based therapies which impact on child development and wellbeing, and to make such services available to a wider population within the Republic of Ireland by endeavoring to open further such centres.”
For more information about any of our services phone our Head Office on 045 520900
To make an appointment: