Wigan borough mum is going for goal in new project helping children with special needs
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Gaynor Kirrane, from Tyldesley, launched SenSability earlier this year to offer support for youngsters with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) and their families.
She works as a specialist teaching assistant for children with SEND at a mainstream primary school in Leigh – a career she pursued after her son Harrison was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.
It has been a busy few months since the enterprise launched in March and Gaynor has now registered it as a community interest company (CIC).
Among her current projects is work with East Leigh AFC to offer training sessions for children with SEND at Leigh Sports Village.
Gaynor has provided SEND training for all of the coaches, so they know the best ways to support the children, and plans to hold sessions for committee members.
SenSablility is also sponsoring the club and its logo will appear on their T-shirts.
Youngsters have been travelling from across Leigh and further afield to take part in the sessions, knowing they have been designed to meet their needs.
It is hoped there will eventually be enough players to form a team and they will be able to compete in a pan-disability league.
Gaynor said: “They teach them football skills. Because they are SEND children, they’re also teaching things like turn-taking, team-working and building all those social skills.
"They want to develop it into getting enough children that they can start forming a team and then we can build on that.”
Gaynor is also working with the Pelican Centre in Tyldesley to offer fun SEND swimming and is looking into providing swimming lessons for children with SEND.
She will be training staff in supporting youngsters with SEND in the coming weeks.
Gaynor is also doing parent advocacy work with a charity, helping people whose children have been diagnosed as having special needs to ensure they get the support they are entitled to and need.
She has continued to produce a podcast called Chaos and Calm, which features guests including people with autism, and is working with Tyldesley and Mosley Common councillor Jess Eastoe to develop links with Wigan Council and identify any funding opportunities.
The past seven months have been very busy for the mum, who hopes SenSability will continue to grow and possibly become something she will do full-time in future.
Gaynor is always looking for more ways to help families and is calling for mental health support for the parents of children with SEND.
She said: “Everything I do is a first for me and the organisation and it has been overwhelmingly positive so far and everyone is on board. It’s a strong feeling from everyone I speak to that this is needed and the things I am doing will eventually come together as a full parent support service, with schools, with parents, with services and facilities that are able to provide SEND services and cater for children with special needs.”