Monday, August 15, 2011
Footbridge Interactive Intro to Reading Bridges - YouTube
Up to 10% of all children can be placed somewhere along the dyslexic spectrum. Linda O’ Sullivan first became concerned when her own son, Oisín, was seen to be having difficulties at school. He was having problems with with reading fluency and comprehension and was beginning to fall behind his classmates.
Oisín was diagnosed as having dyslexia and Linda took him along to the Dyslexic Support Centre in Limerick.
The Centre was founded by Marie Stubbings who works with evidence based teaching and intervention methods for children who are dyslexic. Using a number of different teaching intervention methods she worked with Oisin on a number of different levels and according to Linda, “His reading improved quite a lot during that time.”
It occurred to Linda that, “These exercises would work very well in a game based environment driven by an animated story.” When she looked around she found there was nothing available.
“Children... need something where their attitudes towards reading and learning become more positive. Kids in that situation can often develop negative attitudes towards learning whereas in a games environment kids can become more positive and use that positive energy for learning.”
Linda initially thought about using her ideas as the basis for a possible PhD research project. However, after speaking to the University of Limerick and NUI Galway she realised that her ideas were more suited to a business project.
“I really felt because I was on my own I needed the structure of some business support and the business development expertise of pulling the finance together.” So she enrolled on the Limerick Enterprise Acceleration Platform (LEAP) which is housed in the Hartnett Enterprise Acceleration Centre in the grounds of the Limerick Institute of Technology.
“I picked up a lot of knowledge and also because a lot of the businesses in there are technical there are a lot of techies in the building.
That was helpful to me to get up and running in the business. It was in there as well that I met Jennifer Keane who became my partner in the business.
The program suited my needs exceptionally well.”
The 12 months that Linda spent on the program allowed her to put together a business plan, to market research and bring together an educational advisory panel. The prototype of the product was developed and testing was done with dyslexic children.