Kenneth Pinkerton, one of our Senior Associates who specialises in charity law, was recently appointed Chairman of East Park (SC012838), a charity which has provided Education and Supported Accommodation services to children and young people with additional support needs since 1874.

Kenneth's progression to Chairman follows a significant involvement with East Park since he joined the Board in 2012. As an example of his commitment to East Park, Kenneth led a team of 17 staff from Turcan Connell in the Great Scottish Run on 6th October 2013 raising a fantastic £2,310 towards its highly successful iPad Project. When he first learned of the Project, Kenneth was uncertain as to how an iPad would assist the young people at East Park on a daily basis. However, he was soon easily convinced of the benefits that they could, and indeed should bring!

The iPad Project began at the end of 2013 when East Park secured funding which allowed it to buy a number of iPads for its young people to use. As well as a number of iPads, specialised apps were bought that help young people to further develop their skills in specific areas such as communication; literacy and language; visual and auditory processing and fine motor skills, as well as supporting their learning more generally. The technology is so important, not least of all because the children are so highly motivated to use it!

Experience of using the iPads in schools so far has found that they can be used to minimise the impact of The Dyad of Impairments in individuals with an autism spectrum disorder. They have the potential to assist with a young person's communication and speech development in various environments. An iPad can be a very useful tool in the classroom for personalising lessons, instant data recording, developing independence across the curriculum and choosing activities during free-choice times. East Park is now starting to send iPads home with some of the young people and hope this will provide chances for a wider variety of learning opportunities to occur outwith the regular school day. It is still in the early stages of integrating iPads into both the classroom and the 24-hour curriculum but so far the results are very promising!

Funding also meant that East Park was in the fortunate position of starting a partnership with DART (Development Autism Research Technology) from the University of Edinburgh which monitored the impact of the apps in supporting the young people's progress with communication alongside a wide range of other educational targets. The results of its research have now been published and are discussed in detail in the recently released report which is available to download on line on the DART website.

East Park's philosophy reflects current legislation, best practice and a commitment to excellence and all its services focus on the needs of the young people and encourage partnership with the child and family. The purpose-built state-of-the-art facilities helps East Park to continuously improve its services and skills in working with children from across Scotland. Indeed, one of the challenges facing Kenneth in his role as Chair of East Park will be to oversee the plans to build a new residence and teaching accommodation. This ambitious new development is just part of the on-going commitment by East Park to forge ahead and not rest on its already considerable achievements. This constant strive to improve what is on offer to residents and pupils and to set the standard for the care and education of its young people is to be applauded!!!

Click here for further information on the services East Park provides.

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