I read this story today when looking at business ideas from home and found it truly inspirational. A young woman using her knowledge, skills and passion to address an issue dear to her by getting creative. She addresses the issues of autism in children, which have parallels with ADHD, in a fantastically creative way.
Sarah Morgan from Blaenau Gwent has created her own Eco-education business for children with autism following her own experience with her young son.
What does Eco Explore Education Do?
The Eco-Explore Education workshops that Sarah has developed get kids back in touch with nature and to be curious and inquisitive about the natural world around them.
Driven by the observation that kids on the autism spectrum relaxed and communicated best when surrounded by the great outdoors Sarah decided to take some positive action to support these kids in the communities around Wales. Working in small groups with a teacher the children do a wide range of really stimulating activities that include things like making bird-feeders, planting wild flowers, identifying the creepy crawlies and insects around then and observing the natural world around them.
How was Sarah supported in her entrepreneurial idea?
Sarah received direct support from “Big Ideas Wales” which is part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Service. It is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Having been to University in Wales, albeit in the north, Bangor to be precise I have seen over the years how as a nation Wales has really started to invest in entrepreneurs and innovation. There seems to have been a really proactive approach towards the parts of the economy that are the future. It often starts within higher education with universities and colleges really providing a stimulus through research and the encouragement of entrepreneurship.
What can entrepreneurs learn from Sarah’s ambition?
Well number one is to choose something you are passionate about. It is my own experience and I hear it and see it with virtually every successful entrepreneur. Starting something from scratch needs above all energy and motivation that will sustain you through all the problems and tough times. Energy and motivation will also enable you to have some fun and realise a sense of achievement. This cannot be underestimated. It is tough. Being passionate about the business you are creating is the real key. Sarah found her passion in ecology, the outdoors and supporting kids (including her own) to realise their potential.
What are the parallels with ADHD?
There is research that shows that the ADHD brain is impacted by the monotony of modern indoor environments and the routines of daily life. The ADHD brain requires stimulation, spontaneity and surprises to really function optimally and to be using its potential. The outdoor, natural environment provides a great deal of this stimulation to all the senses.
Salif Mahamane who is conducting studies at Utah State University, USA, thinks we have become “out of touch with the environment that we have been adapted for”. Salif believes that by changing your environment you can change your mental focus. A number of studies now show that outdoor environments reduce ADHD symptoms and more than that there is evidence to show that those with ADHD are actually more in tune with natural environments. Virtually the whole of human evolution occurred in the natural landscape so it shouldn’t be surprising that our attention mechanisms are developed for this.
Sarah’s observations with her own child and other kids on the autistic spectrum is similar once they are outdoors. These children showed less stress and improved their communication when back in the natural environment.
I would love to hear about any stories or experiences you have, any questions or any comments at all. Let me know.