A Skibbereen pharmacy has signed up to a new initiative to ensure customers with special needs, autism or communication difficulties have their needs met.
Dan Cleary Pharmacy on the town’s main street has become a JAM card friendly business which allows people with special needs to discreetly flag that they need ‘Just A Minute’ when in customer service situations, through information on a small plastic card.
The social innovation was set up in 2012 by the NOW Group, an organisation that supports people with learning difficulties and autism into employment.
It was their service users who said they would like a discreet way of telling people that sometimes they need a little extra time and patience.
A JAM card is a small plastic card, about the size of a credit card, which on one side says ‘Just A Minute’ and on the other side allows the holder to choose their own message e.g: ‘I have autism/ Asperger's, I have dementia/ memory problems’ which they can present to staff members.
There are over now 22,000 JAM card users across Northern Ireland, the UK and Ireland.
Ruth O’Callaghan, in Cleary’s, is one of 10 staff members already trained in the initiative, with the rest of the team shortly to come on board.
She explained how they’ve learned that making sure a staff member has adequate time to deal with a JAM card holder, and showing them adequate respect are the key factors.
They only introduced the service a few weeks and already Ruth is 100% convinced of its benefits.
‘It’s all about balance – not treating the card holder any different but giving them extra time,’ she said.
There is also a JAM Card app available. See www.jamcard.org for further details