‘Inclusion’ and ‘participation’ are terms, in relation to disability and special needs, that have been floating around for decades.

Most people agree they’re important, to some extent or other, and politicians argue about them from time to time with regard to education or transport or this and that. 

Most of the arguments take a pretty broad view, lumping disabled or special needs people under one big umbrella.

But there’s a lot of different people under that umbrella, a lot of different abilities, every age, any condition, all variants of those conditions.

The only thing they have in common is they’ve been labelled ‘disabled’ (that rhyme was not deliberate, just a lovely accident).

So, persevering with this umbrella analogy, it’s a pretty big, impractical umbrella that nobody is going to be able hold.

Firefly prefer a more focused approach, focusing on something more realistic and practical that lets us make a real difference.

Kind of like giving everybody their own umbrella (I’ll stop this now).

At Firefly we talk about ‘special needs family participation’, and what we mean by that is doing what we can, in our own little way, to help special needs families do as much as possible together.

How do we do that? Well, we make equipment for children with special needs. But not just run-of-the-mill equipment, we design with participation in mind.

Our equipment helps kids play, interact and take part in all the special little moments that everyone else takes for granted.

Yes, you at the back…

“Hi. How come if it’s ‘special needs family participation’, you only make equipment for kids?”

Excellent question, and the answer is twofold. Firstly, remember how many people were under that umbrella up there? It was a lot – the biggest ‘minority’ in the world, in fact.

Therefore, we think it’s more effective to focus our resources and manpower on a specific segment of that group i.e. children with postural problems, an acutely underserved and isolated group.

We think we can have a bigger impact on people’s lives by dedicating our efforts to one group, rather than taking a broad, general approach that would be less effective.

The other reason we dedicate our work to children is that early intervention is so important.

Numerous studies have identified the importance of early intervention and many benefits have been reported.

These aren’t just developmental benefits for the child, but also various benefits for the child’s family, including reductions in stress and anxiety, and an increase in meaningful interaction.

So, by developing equipment for children, we offer a tangible benefit for the whole family and help everyone can interact and take part in those little moments that matter.

That’s what ‘special needs family participation’ is all about, and it’s why Firefly do what we do.

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