30 Sept 2022

Council agrees to recognise special card to help people with autism and learning disabilities indicate they need help

Angela Dobbins
Derry City and Strabane District Council has agreed to recognise a card that is carried by people with autism and learning disabilities that indicates they need extra time and support. Earlier this week SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins proposed a motion for Council to accept the card and provide appropriate staff training. The Just a Minute (JAM) card is a way for people to communicate that they may need more time in everyday situations. Councillor Dobbins said: “It should come as no surprise that people with learning disabilities want to live happy, independent lives – but sometimes everyday situations can stand in the way. “It might be the case that an individual requires a few more minutes to pay for an item in a shop, or to communicate their needs to a bus driver, their doctor, or some other official. That’s where a JAM Card can help – as a discrete way for people to indicate that they need ‘Just a Minute’ more time. “A JAM Card is a credit card-sized card that can be shown to staff to let them know they may need to be a little more patient (on one side it says ‘Just a Minute’ and on the other it says ‘Please be patient I have a learning difficulty/disability’). Adults with learning difficulties who love getting out and about to go to art galleries, events or even just meet up for coffee sometimes feel they can’t, as they don’t have the confidence to get public transport by themselves or that they often feel under pressure and the Jam Card is an ideal way of letting people know that they needed a little extra time. “More recently the  JAM Card has been transformed into a brand new app. The app will ask users to log where they have used the card, for example on transport or in a shop, and an analyse of this data to help understand what situations the card is being used in most and so assist with further development.”The idea is to increase people’s confidence and independence and I believe that this increased confidence will open up all sorts of possibilities for people. “It’s a simple idea, but the JAM Card and app will help many more people than those who use it directly. Families and carers benefit too as  they no longer have to give the user as many lifts because the JAM Card user now feels confident getting public transport themselves.This gives the family member back a little bit of time to themselves. “Translink have proudly supported the JAM Card and have trained their drivers on giving those who produce the card or app 'a little extra time'. “I would love society to become more tolerant and understanding of people with learning difficulties and I believe that with the JAM Card and training given within council could help contribute to making that happen.; I think the JAM Card app is making a world of difference to its users and that Derry & Strabane District Council will set the example for all other councils to follow.”

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