We (sisters) Jessica and Lydia Conlon who have both worked for 20 years combined in both the public sector as SNA’s and in the private sector in social care, have also a personal connection to Autism, as our younger brother and two nephews are on the spectrum.
One day whilst discussing our roles and difficulties within our roles we both agreed that children with ASD need the right environment and peer support to socially succeed, whilst being part of an inclusive community who have the right attitude and understanding of their needs.
This led us on a whirlwind adventure, that saw us opening the doors to our fully assisted, specially designed afterschool in Killinarden, Tallaght within 1 YEAR!!!!
Prior to this, starting small, we held two messy play classes a week within our local community centre. Within these few months we conducted a feasibility study into the exact needs of our Twiglets and their families; recognising the needs for early intervention in a non-educational environment that encourages positive social habits, physical activity and fulfils sensory needs.
IRELAND’S BEST YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR
We then found trying to make Twigs a reality financially difficult. After a quick google search we found our Local Enterprise Office. Jessica, on the way home from work one day decided to visit and from this meeting went onto enter Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. Jessica won overall and best new idea, starting us off with our first €7000 to invest into Twigs.
With our first €7000 we put down a deposit on our premises in Killinarden (a bare industrial unit).We worked day and night putting our heart soul, blood, sweat and tears into creating the right environment, researching even the smallest details.
We then compiled together a super team of experienced SNA’s to help us set the precedent of how children on the spectrum are cared for in Ireland!!
Opening our doors on September 9th, 2019 for our first ever day, filled us with such excitement to see our Twigs programme come to life! Our programme encompasses Sensory Social and Physical needs alongside a person-centred behavioural approach.
We love our Twigs Community in Tallaght and hope to expand our services nationwide.