SMILES came in more than in twos this week as children’s technology charity Lifelites arrived at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice service in Barnet, to deliver a brand new package of specialist equipment for the children they care for.
The cutting edge equipment Lifelites provides empowers their young people cared for by hospices, who have complex and life threatening healthcare needs, to communicate effectively and embrace their creativity. The specialist iPad packages Lifelites has given to the children of Noah’s Ark are a key example of this.
The specialist iPad packages are portable which means the hospice’s community care teams are able to take the magical technology out to children in their homes. The iPads come with unique grip cases that make them easy for children with disabilities to hold as well as being durable and protected from drops or accidents. In addition, the packages give children access to lots of games, stories, and fun. Furthermore, they also have specialist communication programs such as "Proloque2go" that enables children that are unable to speak to communicate with their family and carers – often for the first time ever – and sensory programs such as Bloom that give children with profound and multiple learning difficulties the opportunity to express themselves creatively.
For children without fine-motor skills, the touch-screen design of the iPad is easier to use than a desktop computer with a mouse or a laptop with a touch pad. The screen’s size and wonderful HD colours make the gadget user-friendly for children with visual problems. The machines offer a sense of independence that many children, especially those with disabilities, may never have experienced before. The touch screens offer instant gratification for users with limited attention spans or those who cannot understand the connection between a mouse and computer screen.
Ru Watkins, Chief Executive of Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice said: "We are absolutely delighted for Noah’s Ark children and families to benefit from this generous charitable donation. Staff in our Noah’s Ark specialist services are so excited about the huge difference and variety of experiences that the children they work with, their siblings and families will now be able to enjoy. This ‘magical technology’ will also mean our staff have more direct contact with families as they will be able to introduce services more quickly. A massive thank you to Lifelites, and the financial support from Thomas Cook Children’s Charity, who have enabled Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice to propel our specialist care services further into the 21st Century."
Simone Enefer-Doy chief executive of Lifelites, said: "We’ve been providing our special packages for children in hospice for over 15 years. It’s terrific – now that technology has become so portable – care staff are reaching out with Lifelites technologies to the children who need it most in their own homes too. We are so proud to be able to partner with children’s hospice services in this way."
Support for the package at Noah’s Ark came from Thomas Cook Children’s Charity. Malcolm Dean, Vice Chairperson, Thomas Cook Children’s Charity said "Thomas Cook Children’s Charity is a proud supporter of Lifelites, ensuring children with life-limiting conditions are able to benefit from the power of assistive and inclusive technologies to learn, to be creative and to communicate. As a charity, we aim to improve children’s lives and the communities in which they live. Supporting the work of charities such as Lifelites means we are that bit closer to achieving our aim and making a lasting difference where it is needed most."
There is a Lifelites project in all 50 baby and children’s hospices across the British Isles. The hospices do not pay anything towards their Lifelites project and all of Lifelites’ work is funded by donations: the equipment, ongoing technical support and training at each hospice costs Lifelites around £50,000 over four years.