To ease distress for children and families affected by dementia through the production of a personalised children’s book about dementia.
The Ally Bally Bee Project revolves around the production of a personalised book explaining the impact of dementia to young children.
Family members are able to enter names and characteristics online, so that the child receiving the book becomes the main character, while the behavioural changes of the family member living with dementia are echoed in the book to provide an immersive experience.
The book itself is written by a speech language pathologist, Elvira Ashby, who has experience of both writing materials to help children build on their language skills and helping adults living with dementia communicate. For this project, she applies these concepts to strip away the more confusing elements of dementia for children, presenting dementia in an easy to understand, warm-hearted story.
The Ally Bally Bee Project already sells books worldwide, with customers in Spain, Portugal and Brazil. There have been offers to translate the books into a number of foreign languages, a step which makes up part of the development process, but so far the scale of the project has prohibited such a move.
The project also works hard to raise awareness around and promote a positive image of dementia, using its significant social media presence to provide support and information.
Still in a relative stage of infancy, largely being run in founder Matthew Adams’ spare time, the Ally Bally Bee Project’s business model is still taking shape.
Books are sold through the Ally Bally Bee website at a cost of £20 each, with the project currently maintaining a consumer focus, whereby families and/or carers can personalise and purchase a book online for personal use.
Matthew is keen to develop the project, however, and is investigating opportunities to form partnerships with care homes, schools, charities and local authorities to incorporate the book as a service in an overarching strategy to help tackle issues surrounding dementia.
Long term, the Ally Bally Bee Project hopes to be able to produce books tackling a range of issues which adults find difficult to explain to their children, from breast cancer to mental health issues and death. The project also hopes to be able to have the books translated into foreign languages to increase the scope of their impact.
Families who have bought the book are better equipped to engage in what are often difficult and stressful conversations. While most existing resources focus on generic elements of dealing with dementia, the Ally Bally Bee Project is the only resource specifically geared towards a child’s perception of the condition.