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Dublin: 10 °C Thursday 21 March, 2019
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Savvy Leitrim 13-year-old making waves with portable study aid for children with ADHD

Zack Dolan now hopes to roll out the Happy Homework Hut nationwide.

Source: Michelle Dolan/YouTube

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL FIRST-year student from Carrigallen Vocational School in Co Leitrim has found success with his creation to help students who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Asperger’s focus on their schoolwork.

The Happy Homework Hut is a foldable, portable cubicle where children and teens can focus on what they’re doing in a distraction free space.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, its creator Zack Dolan said that he pitched the idea to his local school after making a sample hut using a cardboard box, duct tape and a scissors, and the idea snowballed from there.

Free of distraction

image1 Source: Happy Homework Hut

According to Autism Ireland, ADHD is a condition “where the person experiences persistent patterns of hyperactive behaviour and impulsivity, and significant levels of inattention may also be present, over and above the levels expected for their mental and chronological age”.

Using his own personal experience of being diagnosed with Asperger’s and ADHD, Dolan was able to create something he himself would find useful to make sure he didn’t get too distracted in the classroom.

“Finding a place to sit is important,” he said. “Anything from hallway noise to open windows can distract someone with ADHD. The Happy Homework Hut means that you can sit at your desk and be in your own space.”

Dolan now partners with a Dublin-based printing company to make the huts, and has sold over 180 Happy Homework Huts to schools in the Leitrim area so far.

He says schools were impressed with its capacity to help students in such a simple manner.

“Aughavas National School bought about 60,” he said. “I’ve sold them to about 11 schools in all so far.”

With the Leitrim market cornered, the first-year student now hopes to win business with schools nationwide with his creation.

“I’m going to try to make it more available online,” Dolan said. “We’ve got a Facebook and Twitter page now so it’s about getting the message out there.”

Student Enterprise Programme

The 13-year-old took his project and entered it into the Student Enterprise Programme, winning the Leitrim junior category competition.

He will now go on to the national competition, which is taking place in the Croke Park Conference Centre this Wednesday 3 May.

Win or lose, Dolan is looking forward to a bright future with the Happy Homework Hut.

Read: ‘Deal with the Wheels’: These teenagers are leading the way on some of society’s most important issues

Read: 20 Under 20: Ireland’s brightest and most inspirational rising stars

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Sean Murray

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