Today, 1 in 4 children in Ireland has a special educational need. Identifying and treating these difficulties at a young age will allow a child to truly realise their potential.
Accessible & Affordable Intervention Services
Sensational Kids is an innovative, award winning, non-profit positively impacting the lives of thousands of children with additional needs throughout Ireland. Sensational Kids operates child development centres providing subsidised early intervention services, such as occupational therapy, speech & language therapy, play therapy and hippotherapy in Kildare, Mayo, Monaghan & West Cork. Sensational Kids has saved families in Ireland over €1.5 million in therapy fees alone, providing a practical, accessible, and affordable service for those in need.
An essential service at all times but it’s so much more in times like this
Our daughter had been attending services at Sensational Kids, Claremorris with both Caitlin the Speech & Language therapist & Kylie the Occupational Therapist since the beginning of the year. When COVID 19 first hit we had great concerns as to how our daughter would cope without her services. But very quickly Sensational Kids had found the solution. We prepared our daughter through Skype and calling grandparents first so she would know what to expect from the screen session. The very next week we went live and have never looked back. Services through the lock down has really helped keep our daughter on track, in a routine & moving forward. We cannot thank the girls enough for all their hard work & care. They worked really hard to build a relationship and make it work online in order to help our daughter. They provide such an essential service at all times but it’s so much more in times like this.
We could not recommend Sensational Kids enough.
Jen, May 2020
If it wasn’t for Sensational Kids and everyone in it, I don’t know where we would be right now.
“I just wanted to let you know what your services mean to us because we really need you guys to keep the faith right now!
My little boy is 3 and a half and has been seeing Rebecca for OT in Kildare for about 4 months now. He is on the waiting list in our local area for Early Intervention for so long that it is unlikely he will ever get it now. When we first started seeing Rebecca, A was incredibly fearful of strangers, extremely stressed in situations like play centres and becoming increasingly angry and frustrated.
He immediately warmed to Rebecca. This was the first relationship he developed outside of our family. He gained confidence through play with her and became more and more regulated the more sessions we had. He loves her so much now that he is constantly asking when we can go back to “Rebecca’s house”! Any time we introduce a new food or game that he is a bit suspicious of, we just have to say “oh Rebecca said she plays (or eats) this” and he becomes more comfortable with the idea! Even now when he gets a new toothbrush he will say “this from Rebec House?” before he uses it.
With your services I finally feel like we have someone on our side. Everyone is amazing, Anne is always so quick to help on the phone and so sympathetic to our situation. We’ve had a couple of sessions with Faye for Speech & Language Therapy and we are already beginning to see his confidence improve to try new words.
If it wasn’t for Sensational Kids and everyone in it, I don’t know where we would be right now.
We can’t wait to get back to see everyone and play in the gym again with our favourite people!”
E & A. April 2020
Kylan’s Story- ‘It’s nice to be able to go in to Sensational Kids and know that you are among friends’
I’ve been taking my son to speech and language with Elaine for the past 7 months and I would highly recommend sensational kids to anyone looking for speech and language or occupational therapy for their kids. I started with high concerns for my son starting school in September, but since working with Elaine, my concerns are well and truly gone. Elaine is just fab at what she does. I have a different child now and that is down to sensational kids. I couldn’t be happier with the services they have. We also had a few OT sessions with both Sarah and Mary and both girls are fantastic. Such a warm friendly place to have in West Cork. Thanks to all 🙂. From Celina, Ken and of course Kylan.
Elaine is amazing!
Elaine is amazing. She sets easy achievable goals for us to help my son’s speech development. His progress is amazing and it is all down to the guidance and knowledge of Elaine.
Siobhan, July 2019.
James’ Story – “He has developed beyond anything we were expecting. It has made such a difference”
Jamie’s Story – “We have our boy back”
My son Jamie first came to Sensational Kids nearly one year ago and what a year it has been. We first came as Jamie was having horrible thoughts and wanted to hurt himself, pulling terrible tantrums, and as an eight-year-old, they were very hard to handle.
When I rang Sensational Kids to explain my case I was at my last wits. I got in touch with Yvonne and she has been like an angel ever since. They saw how much Jamie needed guidance. We were in for our first visit the next week and since then he has been going from strength to strength, from a child that wouldn’t go into school, hated everyone around him and himself. Jamie has been doing play therapy with Yvonne. He loves it and can’t wait to come in.
Yvonne has been talking to Jamie as he knows Sensational Kids and her room is a safe place to be. He loves working in the playroom because he can run, jump, be as rough as he likes to be and not get hurt. Jamie has since been diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and sensory processing disorder. Since this and before, things have gotten much better as Yvonne has showed Jamie tricks he can even use during the day to ground himself and stop his anxiety. He now goes into school with no problem, knows his own body when he is starting to get angry, how to relax himself, and not have an outburst (this is a really good thing not even just for Jamie but for the whole family) Simple things like we couldn’t bring him to a shop without an outburst and now we can, which means so much to us. As Jamie gets older these are life skills that he needs to know.
Basically, I could not thank Yvonne and Sensational kids enough, because we were at our wits end with Jamie and hoping he would not hurt himself. All them thoughts are now gone, and we can relax a little. The only thing I would say to parents is your child is Not Bold. Sometimes they are just misunderstood, and everyone is different.
I would recommend this service to everybody.
We have our boy back 😊
He Has Improved Immensely
Charlie has “high functioning Autism. He also has some sensory issues and he would struggle with some of his fine and gross motor skills, explains Charlie’s mum Michelle. She says “I was waiting over a year and a half trying to get services, whereas I had this immediately. I don’t know where we would have been without it. He has improved immensely, his diagnosis has changed. He’s socialising better. He’s progressing much better in school. He absolutely loves it here.”
I literally can’t explain how AMAZING and vital it is for my child
This place, I literally can’t explain how AMAZING and vital it is for my child! The goals and things we have done this year that I didn’t think was even POSSIBLE or that were a million miles off were made a little bit closer!
Every time we go here they work in the exact areas that needs to be done, what his needs are, they watch and listen!
It’s a place that goes above and beyond with help. They are absolutely amazing with Ben and honestly every time he goes I feel, even if we accomplish a small thing or do something that we couldn’t for such a long time, then we are going in the right direction. Here’s to a full year of being so thankful for Sensational Kids.
Keira Tynan, November 2018
To say we were blown away is an understatement
My name is Ken Guilfoyle. I am a father to my son Dylan who attends Sensational Kids in Kildare Town. In April 2018 my partner and I decided that we needed to bring him somewhere as we were getting worried about the way he was behaving. Dylan would get very angry and hit out at times and say bad words. We found out about Sensational kids from a friend . We decided that enough was enough so we took the plunge and contacted them.
From here a meeting was set up to see the play therapist Yvonne. On the day of the meeting, it was a Friday i recall, we sat in the meeting room and I was thinking to myself what can these do here that I can’t do at home. We met Yvonne for over one hour and told her the problems we were having. Again I was still thinking that this was a lot of money and what can they do that I can’t.
It has been now one year since that meeting and to say we were blown away is an understatement. Dylan has changed a lot and is really more outgoing than before. He still does have his moments but not as bad as before. Yvonne in Sensational Kids and the team do a really fantastic job.
I have to give praise to Yvonne as Dylan has really taken to her. She plays with Dylan and he opens up to her as well. Each Tuesday at the start and now Fridays he cannot wait to go and see Yvonne.
Yvonne is a credit to this company and is very honest in what she says and does. Dylan will continue to go to Sensational Kids and he has hugely improved and many thanks to all involved. Ken Guilfoyle, May 2019
We are so thankful that Sensational Kids came to Clonakilty
As a family, we could not be happier that Sensational Kids came to Clonakilty. We are absolutely thrilled with the level of professionalism, support, the warm welcome from Lisa and Djola, the flexibility and the understanding shown to us. Our daughters’ OT, Mary Lucey is exceptional at her job and coming here has changed our lives as a family. Seeing our little girl doing so well is a joy, we will forever be grateful for.
29th June 2019
The service from Sensational Kids has changed my family’s life
“Last year my 7 year old son was struggling to read even basic words and as a result had become very withdrawn in school. He speech was not at the level expected for his age and his friends and teachers struggled to understand him. His teacher believed that this speech was also leading to reading difficulties and suggested I investigate speech therapy. A friend of mine recommended Sensational Kids and we were very lucky to be introduced to Sarah. Sarah was so patient with my son and through her persistence his speech improved dramatically. As a result my bubbly child has returned – he can now communicate much clearer and his reading has come on leaps and bounds. Tonight he read a full book whereas this time last year he could barely read a couple of words. I can honestly say that the service from Sensational Kids has changed my family’s life”
S. Kearns, October 2018
Sensational Kids are our Ship to Endless Possibilities
“We were ecstatic after nearly 15 years of marriage that we were to be blessed with our little girl Aisling. Our prayers were answered and our dreams came true we knew we hit the jackpot. When at a routine checkup with the public health nurse with Aisling just 3 ½ were told that she was “delayed” in reaching her milestones and that her ability to speak and to communicate was very compromised. We were referred to the HSE Early Intervention team. We received different therapists views that Aisling’s “speech intelligibility was compromised and is due to a delayed/disorder speech patterns.”
We also found out she had hypertonia and was prone to falling and had frequent accidents. Alarm bells began to ring in our heads and we were out of our depths and needed help – fast…….we were devastated, broken hearted and could not let our little girl fall through the gaps and become another statistic. The thought of her in isolation, not being able to communicate not being able to form relationships made us take action fast! Early intervention was key at such a young age, the brain is so malleable at this age that new synaptic connections and pathways needed to be reformed. For Aisling it was about creating the pathway of the “synaptic to the syntactic” specialised help was key.
We went to Saplings Mullingar and the principal of the special needs school Ursula Smyth helped us by letting us get advice from her behavioural therapist Dr. Katrina Duffy who worked with children with special challenges. This was the day we began to sleep again, when we began to find hope and to do whatever it takes to help our girl become an active participant of this world, communicate her thoughts, tell us her feelings and to find her voice. Dr. Katrina Duffy gave us a checklist of must do’s and advice and met with us in our home and developed action plans to help Aisling and her last piece of wonderful advice was go to “Sensational Kids.”
The HSE Offaly Intervention team were brilliant we went to speech & language and occupational therapy but they could only offer a certain amount of services due to the huge waiting list and we knew we needed specialist intervention fast as early intervention was key in helping Aisling progress and this is how we found ourselves at “Sensational Kids.”
Fast forward to today, our Aisling busily chats in the back seat of the car, pointing out the cows in the fields, she explains why chocolate is very important to her and through the mirror she is watching our reaction to her funny jokes and winks in approval of certain ice-cream privileges. Our profound joy is chatting, giggling and having craic with her. She has friends, goes to pet farms and begs for sleepovers and is a little girl with a busy social life.
We go to “Sensational Kids” every week for speech and occupational therapy and the progress is utterly amazing, we have that warm fuzzy feeling when we go and the abject terror of being told that there is something wrong with your child just does not faze us now. Sensational Kids is our soft place to land, we trust these wonderful therapists with their expertise, humanity and kindness. “Saplings of Mullingar are our emotional compass and Sensational Kids are our ship to endless possibilities.”
The future? What we have learned? We are not hung up on labels anymore , we celebrate Aisling’s progress, can’t does not exist in our vocabulary and this is a truly amazing voyage. Our daughter has taught us how to “conjugate the verb to love,” truly it can navigate in the most challenging terrain, but with a little bit of help from our new friends a little bit of help goes a very long way! It is the collaborative process that produces collective wisdom that has been the key to changing our lives and helping Aisling find her voice.” E. Conway 2018
Have recommended it to lots of friends and parents since. A great place
I met with Occupational Therapist Mary Lucey in October as I was worried about my son’s handwriting and fine motor skills. From the initial parent chat to the follow on sessions that she had with him, i was delighted with every aspect of the care. On hand to answer queries and give progress reports and assurances of his progress. He was always delighted with his weekly visits and made his brother and sister jealous with his tales of his gym activities.The onsite shop is also fantastic and Djola was on hand to advise on all the essentials that the kids had to have.🤗 Have recommended it to lots of friends and parents since. A great place and delighted they opened so close to home
K Stewart 2019
The Difference In Him Is Wonderful To See
“Ryan is one of those kids that goes from 0 to 100, it’s very hard for him to keep calm and to relax”, explains Ryan’s mum Diana. Laura his occupational therapist explains: “Ryan doesn’t get as much feedback from his muscles and joints as you or I, and that’s why he moves around all the time to help himself know where he is and his space. So by giving him certain types of Sensory input, that helps him to calm down and sit and do the activities that we want.” “The difference in him is wonderful to see”, says his mum.
Mary is just wonderful, she just understands what my son needs and I am so thankful for her
When we first came in to Sensational Kids in Clonakilty (before Christmas 2018) we didn’t even know what occupational therapy was. We came along to a free talk which was advertised in a local paper ‘an introduction to occupational therapy’ and when we listened to Mary, something just clicked and everything made sense. I have seen huge positive changes with my son and I am so thankful for that. We love coming here and even speaking with the receptionists Djola and Lisa (and they are so kind and friendly) when he is in therapy, it is a great place to be when you are having a bad day. It just lifts you up because everyone in there is so positive and they really care.
Kathleen, June 2019
The progress couldn’t have been made without the input of Sensational Kids
“Thomas is 3 years of age. When he came to Sensational Kids, he was pretty good at letting people know what he wanted, but he wasn’t using his words to do that”, explains his speech and language therapist Elaine “For example, we use Mr. Potato Head which is all about interaction and using his eye contact to make choices and to listen. Hopefully we will get to the point where he is going to use those words independently.” Thomas’s dad says “The benefit Thomas is getting is great, it’s huge. He’s happy. I don’t think the progress could’ve been made without the input of Sensational Kids”.
Breda was wonderful, she was very good with my daughter and made her very comfortable and gave us great, detailed feedback which really helped us to understand our daughter’s dyslexia diagnosis
Just wanted to pass on my thanks to yourselves and Breda Hand for your handling of our educational assessment yesterday. We had been waiting for an appointment with another organisation for months and got a cancellation appointment with yourselves for within a month of contacting you.
Yesterday my daughter had her assessment and Breda was wonderful, she was very good with my daughter and made her very comfortable and gave us great, detailed feedback which really helped us to understand our daughters dyslexia diagnosis and where her strengths and challenges are. This in turn helped us to explain the whole thing to our daughter so that she could have a good understanding of the situation and be comfortable talking about it.
Please pass this on to Breda as her manner and knowledge really made all the difference.
100 Words and Counting…
“My little son JC was diagnosed with autism just before last Christmas,” explains Laura. “When he first started here in Sensational Kids he had 5 words, but he only used three: ‘Mama, Dada’ and ‘NO’. But mostly, it was just ‘NO’. Before we came here it was tantrums. I’d never understand what he wanted. We came to Sensational Kids and they started working with him using the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) which allowed him to communicate using pictures. He practically flew at it when he realized he could convey not only what he wanted, he could actually express his preferences and choices. It gave him the initiative to communicate. The tantrums went to practically zero. Then the vocabulary started to come.” Today, thanks to Sensational Kids, JC is up to nearly 100 words.
We are delighted with the progress he is making
“Elaine has a fantastic rapport with my son. He loves going for his appointments. She has tailored a very specific programme for him and sends on great resources to work on at home between appointments. The work and care that she provides for him is second to none. We are delighted with the progress he is making. His social language is really improving which makes his everyday interaction and life skills much easier for him”. (Sorcha Ní Chaoimh, parent)
“I like everything about going to Elaine. I love all the work we do because it is fun.
I like playing with the barn and the eggs. She is very nice and funny. I love her”. (Traolach, 6 years old)
“Working with Amanda helped to calm me down and put things into perspective”
“I have worked with Occupational Therapist Amanda over a 6 month period from the time I was originally diagnosed with Asperger’s. When I was diagnosed there was a period when I was overwhelmed and had a lot of questions.
Working with Amanda helped to calm me down and put things into perspective. At the start Amanda taught me a huge amount about my sensory systems:
- My need to move:
- Sensory need for touch
- Vulnerability to my sensory systems getting easily overwhelmed – heightened activation – while my proprioceptive system is not able to calm me down enough
- Proprioceptive: need for deep pressure and muscular work
- Sensitivity to noise – need quiet work environments to Be Present
I gained huge benefits from the work as follows:
- Learning about the need for self-care and nurturing every day
- Becoming aware of how enriched environments such as nature are a source of comfort and calm
- The need for emotional self-regulation and the constant triggers for intense emotions
- The need to regular time-outs to manage stress and hyper aroused state
- How clothes textures can comfort me
- How I can avail of my sensory systems to slow me down and calm me
- How to calm down my fight/flight reaction and live from a responsive place
- Being aware of the challenges in relationships
- How to regulate and modulate so that I am always in a balanced place
- Why I have a bias for cognitive approaches because I am emotionally avoidant – because I struggle in the area of emotions and feelings
- The benefits of the likes of Yoga and Mindfulness
I feel that I am now on a journey into awareness into self – and into self fits into relationships with others and the world.
I have Amanda to thank for all of this work – the hard and committed work we have done has been fantastic – and I plan to pass onto the benefits to others and society through my own work.
I would hugely recommend anyone working with Amanda and Sensational Kids.”
Ronan McGovern 2019
Head of Strategy and Finance
AIB Property and Workplace Transformation