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Connacht Tribune

Making waves to reach potential

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Karen O'Connor

Lifestyle – Galway pioneer shares her experience – to help families bridge communication gap

Parenting is not easy at the best of times – but it’s considerably more challenging if your child has a complex communication need, such as autism or other developmental disorders on the spectrum.

The reality is that autism (ASD) was practically unheard of a few generations ago – but it is now a widely diagnosed syndrome, alongside others like dyspraxia and similar conditions.

One Galway-based speech and language therapist has developed a way of reaching out to families who are living with autism and similar disorders by sharing her experience via YouTube videos.

The Openingyourmind.com channel is the first of its kind in the world in the area of child development, so parents can learn what to do with the child with sensory, speech, language, communication and/or learning difficulties.

Karen O’Connor, a speech and language therapist and director of services at the Child Development Centre in Galway and Dublin, appreciates the frustration experienced by parents trying to understand what is happening with their child and how best to deal with communication, sensory or learning difficulties.

Karen runs a very busy clinic and, rather than have families waiting for therapy, she wants to share her knowledge and experience through her series of videos to help parents help their child get started today at home.

These videos show parents how to get started straight away at home to help their children begin to achieve their true potential.

Karen has not only gained experience through her 20 year career both in the public and private sector, but has travelled the world investigating the most effective approaches that are impacting on the neuroplasticity of the brain. She has combined the best of these techniques with speech and language therapy techniques so that children can achieve the best results in the shortest time period.

There are lots of free material for parents and teachers on the channel but there are also four programmes available for families to buy to start working with their child at home today.

Each programme is a compilation of nine videos that she has created for families which is the equivalent of six sessions with a speech and language therapist.

“I wanted to keep the cost right down so that all families no matter what their situation could afford to buy it,” says Karen, a Donegal native who has lived and practised as a speech and language therapist in Furbo for over 15 years.

The cost is €29.99 for the programme while the cost of a speech therapy assessment is €300 and each therapy session afterwards €100, which is a significant price difference.

Each programme tackles a different aspect — with titles like Does my child really have autism (ASD)? How to help a child with dyspraxia achieve their greatest potential; Is auditory processing disorder (APD) really for life? and How to help a child with sensory processing disorder (SPD) really achieve their potential.

She has interviewed some of the world’s leading experts in the field of child development and these too will be made available on the channel.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Pubs to remain closed and restrictions on gatherings unchanged

Enda Cunningham

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Pubs and nightclubs will not be allowed to open next week, while restrictions will remain in place on indoor and outdoor gatherings, as the Government decided to postpone Phase 4 of the Roadmap to Recovery for a second time.

It will also become compulsory to wear face coverings in shops and shopping centres from next Monday.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin made the announcement this evening, adding that the current situation will be reviewed again in three week’s time.

Asked if pubs would reopen at all this year, the Taoiseach said that due to the way the virus spreads, the Government “cannot give any guarantee right now2.

“International evidence shows very clearly that pubs and nightclubs reopening too early leads directly and inextricably to an increase in community transmission.

“I want [publicans] to know that I have enormous sympathy for their plight. The virus is taking away their ability to earn a living. It is stopping them from providing a key service in the heart of many communities.

“We have to heed our Chief Medical Officer and NPHET [the National Public Health Emergency Team] advice and we have to keep the pressure on this virus.

“I know this will come as a bitter disappointment to many people; the Cabinet has agreed to continue with the current public health measures that are in place. Pubs, bars, hotel bars, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed.

“The current restrictions on numbers attending indoor and outdoor gatherings will remain unchanged [50 people indoors and 200 outdoors].

“We will review the evidence again in three weeks’ time.

“This virus has not changed. It remains as virulent as ever and it is constantly on the search for new people to infect. It remains completely indiscriminate in its cruelty. But as dangerous as it is, we have shown we can beat it. Each one of us has the power to suppress it,” the Taoiseach said.

At a press conference tonight, Mr Martin also said that pubs which are currently trading (with food) will have to close at 11pm.

The Government has also announced that five locations – Malta, Cyprus, San Marino, Monaco and Gibraltar – have been removed from the so-called ‘Green List’.

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Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley

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Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan

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Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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