Films for autistic children create 100 jobs
UP TO 100 jobs are being created by an animation company specialising in language development for children with autism and language difficulties.
Animation Language Learning (ALL) will operate in conjunction with Disney Pixar, which has granted rights to employ their movies as part of a global language development research programme.
ALL will operate from a new centre housed at the headquarters of Irish Autism Action in Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath, where construction work is now under way.
The initiative is the brainchild of engineer Enda Dodd and chief executive of ALL's research centre in Galway.
Mr Dodd's interest in the area stemmed from Enda's twin sons, Conor and Eoin, who were diagnosed with severe autism at a young age.
He used his own research and development experience as a bio-medical engineer to find a solution to his children's communication difficulties.
ALL uses much-loved movies, such as 'Toy Story', to explore and teach children conceptual language.
It uses repetition to reinforce the concepts of characters, action words and emotions. The programme is currently in pilot phase in Ireland and the US.
The opening of the ALL facility here will put Irish Autism Action among the world leaders in delivering technology-based language development.
"My wife and I know, from experience, what it is to want a better future for your children with autism," said Mr Dodd.
"The time has come to move the agenda globally from autism awareness to effective intervention using 21st Century visual tools.
"It is amazing the influence that parents of children with autism can bring to the table in harnessing global players like Disney and Adobe. I don't believe that animated language learning would have the same impact without the Disney movies that the children can relate to."
The innovative Galway man and his global team are constantly refining his visual learning technology.
Kevin Whelan, CEO of Irish Autism Action, added: "Helping children with autism to communicate is steering them away from institutional care and from the lonely world associated with their condition. It is great that an Irishman is driving this hugely significant global development."