Prepare Me is a social enterprise, creating resources for children and adults with additional needs; Allowing them to have informed experiences in everyday activities.
After 20 years of working in the disability sector, Caitriona Watters Crehan (CEO of Prepare Me) was frustrated at how difficult it was to access visual resources; essential to prepare many of the people she supports for everyday activities which include:
- Doctor appointments
- Dentist appointments
- Hospital appointments
- Navigating public transport
- Haircut appointments etc.
As well as that, Watters was also frustrated when simple activities would go wrong for some. Very often the assumption was that it was their ‘disability’ that was the cause of their stress; More often than not the person simply did not feel prepared for what to expect and what might be expected of them.
“…I founded Prepare Me because I believe our current information systems do not meet the learning styles of many people with additional needs. If you do not use words to speak or if you process language differently, verbal explanations and text are often not the best format of communication when preparing for something…”
Her background containing a Post Grad Cert in Education in Autism, BA (Hons) Applied Social Studies (Disabilities), Qualified Nursery Nurse, and Studio 3 (Behaviour Management) Trainer, prepared Watters for this field of work.
Prepare Me offers beneficial products for their audience and narrows in on their needs. Uniquely, they create video models of ‘typical’ experiences in action. Then, from that footage, they build usable teaching video models, picture stories, visual schedules and also multi sensory resource packs.
Prepare Me plans to build an interactive app allowing users access to a library of resources; then building their own bespoke picture stories, quickly and easily.
Future growth plans will see Prepare Me build a library of generic resources covering as many activities as possible; health activities, dental checks and haircuts. Additionally, they plan to make hard copy resources available for purchase. Not only that, plans are in place to build an interactive web app allowing users to access a visual resource library, and use templates to quickly and easily build their own resources. Finally, they also want to work with general service providers.
The Empower Programme influenced Caitrionna Watters in a number of ways:
“Empower was fantastic. The workshops on market research and planning really gave me the insight needed to explore my concept through the eyes of a consumer. The research we did allowed us to prove that this was a problem ‘worth’ solving. My biggest takeaway from Empower was the support of my peers. Here we are almost a year on and we are continually cheering each other on and sharing each others networks in any way that we can. Empower gave me the confidence to believe in my own abilities to lead and scale a successful and sustainable social enterprise.”
Caitriona – we love what you are doing. Keep up the good work!
This project is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.