NUIG students with mental or physical disabilities can now use a card to ask for more time when dealing with staff in the shops or ordering in the canteen.
Anyone who holds a Just A Minute (JAM) card can present it to staff when they require a moment of patience, calm, or assistance, particularly in retail and hospitality settings.
The standard card says “just a minute” on one side, and “please be patient I have a learning difficulty” on the other.
However, the JAM card is also available as an app, where a user can select what message they want their card to say. Some options include; “I have Autism/Asperger’s”, “I have a hearing impairment” and “I have a condition”.
The initiative was founded by the Now Group in Northern Ireland, who support people with learning disabilities. It has been in operation on public transport and in some banks across Ireland, while last April Lidl introduced the initiative too.
It is planned that this will be rolled out across the NUIG campus, and employees in Sult, Bialann, and on-campus shops will be trained in how to react when presented with a JAM card. It is hoped that eventually, the initiative will be rolled out city-wide.
Student Union Disability Rights Officer, Niamh McGrath, said it would give people the opportunity to discretely inform servers that they are feeling anxious or overwhelmed and need a bit of patience and understanding.
“Whether it be a bartender, a waitress, whatever the employee may be, it gives them the opportunity to say ‘sorry, I’m dealing with someone that I just need to give that extra attention to.
“It makes them aware that you can’t always see a disability as well. It educates the employee in a way too”, said Ms McGrath.
Training will also be provided to all of the college disability staff, as well as class representatives.
Cards are available through the disability support services at NUIG, and it is anticipated that they will be provided by the student union office from the start of March.
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