Andrea With Downs Syndrome Daughter Seeks Disability Grant To Launch Educational Product
by Andrea Campbell
(London, Greater London, United Kingdom)
I'm the mother of a nine-year-old disabled girl. I'm 52 and live with my long-term 51-year-old partner and father of our daughter, an only child for both of us.
Mother and daughter using educational resources
For the last nine years we have had to come to terms with our daughter's challenges and continuously work with her to focus on and maximize her abilities so that she can achieve her full potential.
Although we live away from our families we have been blessed with good friends and neighbors who have provided support and encouragement when necessary. We live in a two-bedroom maisonette and have no pets.
Our daughter was diagnosed with Down's Syndrome at birth and later with autism, hypothyroidism, hearing loss, left convergent squint, skin issues among other issues including mobility.
She attends a series of hospital appointments to address the various issues and recently we have been struggling with behavioral issues associated with learning difficulties.
She has occupational therapy to assist with her balancing as well as her fine and gross motor skills. In addition, she takes swimming and gymnastics to complement her various therapies.
The mainstream school that supports our little girl is increasingly unable to cater to her needs and in the next school year she will be transferred to a school that specializes in children with complex needs.
Our daughter is on the disability register of our local district and in this regard she does access the limited services available.
Daughter Sha using educational resources on front garden
Twelve years ago we founded a not-for profit organization that supports the growing number of disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the local area, who struggle to secure employment, and whose quality of life and often their mental state are adversely affected.
This is a free service to local people and the project experienced considerable success in the early years, helping approximately 500 people per annum to move into employment.
Lately however, available funding has been reduced considerably and the company has had to scale down its services and facilities in order to survive. We currently rely on volunteers and contract staff to deliver services.
Our organization has a solid reputation and the work is very much needed by the target groups. With the help of a few donor organizations and a small contract from the local authority we have managed to keep the service going.Income Efforts
We have sought grants from a range of organizations to fund our business idea and although the innovation has public endorsements we have been unable to attract the monies necessary to launch the project.
In 2014 we conducted a crowd-funding campaign but it failed to reach the target. Since them we have approached other organizations including the Royal Society of Arts (https://www.thersa.org/
) and the BCBN (http://bcbn.org.uk/grant-initiative/
) for support but to no avail.
We have exhausted our savings in order to develop our business idea and now we have a completed prototype that has been tested and is ready for the market.Specific Needs
We believe that the products we have developed have great market potential and in this regard we are looking for £25,000 seed money to promote and produce our first batch of items.
We would also be grateful for tangible support in the form of distribution channels and contact leads where we may be able to sell our products on a large scale.
We are very interested in being able to engage with NGOs that support children in disadvantaged societies across the globe who may be able to access and distribute our products to these children.
Andrea Campbell exhibiting at British Women Innovators show
Over the last four years I have been developing an educational development program for assisting my daughter to build her vocabulary and learn to read. She has challenges with her speech and language competence and her school has not been able to help her in any significant way.
The concept consists of a series of items that promote and consolidate learning. The basic principle is based on the manipulation of cards containing words and pictures and adding rewards to encourage learning in children, particularly those who are deemed slow learners and those diagnosed with learning difficulties.
It allows educational professionals, parents and carers to support children in their endeavor to develop competence and confidence in an entertaining, non-threatening environment.
The program is as an early intervention tool that encourages learning -- vocabulary building, reading, communication and numeracy. It will prove invaluable to those whose cognitive ability is challenged and whose capacity to develop speech or language is adversely affected, limiting their ability to cope with the school curriculum.
It will serve as a vital aid in enabling children to widen their vocabulary and learn to read, and will also benefit adults with literacy and language problems. At the higher levels it can be used as a study aid for testing, knowledge development and retention.
The product has now become a brand, the concept having been applied to a range of products presenting a range of methodologies all aimed at building vocabulary and enabling children to read.
It consists of the basic workbook, the game, activity sequencing cards, nursery and primary resources as well as labels and blank cards. It will also be developed into a computer application.
It has also been identified as an assessment medium and one that can be used to impart new knowledge such as the development of foreign language and develop numeracy skills. The concept traverses geographical borders, class, race, culture orientation, religion and background.
This is a product that can have an impact all over the world and research shows that there is nothing like it existing at the moment. It has obtained the relevant copyright and design rights.
In order to be able to benefit from economies of scale we need £25,000 to produce 1,000 units, covering the costs of: (1) marketing and promotion, (2) initial production and (3) distribution.
We currently operate under the umbrella of our not-for-profit organization which was established 10 years ago and which can pass the relevant credibility checks. We are also able to use the facilities of our organization and in this regard will avoid setting up costs.
We estimate that we will be able to sell all the items produced with a 60% markup.