With this new pandemic it's pretty scary right now and can be overwhelming for many, especially us with vulnerable families, we are dealing with panic buying, closures , children's understanding with unclear information and it's difficult to see the positives at such an uncertain time. I spent time yesterday thinking of how to be positive in such unusual circumstances and to understand some of actions people are taking …
Our ancient survival instincts are kicking in right now
Humans act out of immediate need, survival instinct kicks in and we will do anything to protect our family. To protect our tribe we need to think about where we will get our food from and this leads to panic/fear/mistrust/stress and paranoia.
The panic buying is having a massive effect on the vulnerable and older people who can't get to different shops to get supplies or afford what's left on the shelves!
So how firstly can we help the vulnerable – let's think positive!
Ask yourself a simple question to keep the fear at bay- how can I be of service?
How can we look after other people nearby?
How can we look after ourselves and our children?
We can offer our services to our community/family and neighbours, if you are not in self-isolation and you are able to shop you could help get supplies – to avoid the contact with those who are isolating and vulnerable (from a safe 2 meter distance!) you could use this postcard I came across designed by Becky Wass in Cornwall it is now being widely distributed and leave items at the door.
Asking for help can sometimes feel uncomfortable, but there is a whole lot of help out there, we need to get better at 'asking for help'
Another positive for our families! people are now listening to families with chronic illness and disabilities! We have to miss out on activities and social interaction as our 'normal' and our community often have no idea how that feels! So we really hope this crazy time throws some light on the social isolation of families with disabilities and opens their eyes to the challenges we may face on a daily basis. Isolation is not nice, maybe people will think more and open up more avenues for our families so we can be more involved and activities are more accessible! Regards to autism and our children! well It's also giving people a feeling of not being in control, there are last minute changes in routine/guidance, unpredictability which causes anxiety, there is unclear information when people want black and white with no grey areas! when often our kids have to deal with grey on a daily basis our kids also want black and white – it doesn't feel good does it! So it gives people a feeling of what it's like to be in their shoes – that can only be positive right? Well we hope so and we hope for more understanding in the future!
Isolation! while we are isolated we have never been more grateful for social media - Isolation is not complete isolation anymore! So remember to stay in contact skype/facetime/messenger/Instagram/twitter, keep your families informed to lesson stress and worry, check who needs what and how you can help, have regular calls and laugh – who says a party can't be through an online facetime group call! Keep your kids in touch with school friends! Remember that although we have this pandemic looming over us we can make our online spaces fun and happy despite the threat of the virus, Mental health is important! Share the good stuff too!
Our children sometime struggle to understand the virus and the uneasiness around us, it's hard for us as adults to make sense of so children struggle especially those with needs, so let's be positive and try to ease the tension and fear, here is a social story that may help with that? Anything is worth a try to lesson a child's anxiety about something we have little information about and ever-changing guidelines – we ask parents to look over it first and check it is suitable for your child to view – all needs and children are different with different levels of understanding so you need to make that choice to share with them or not. More links for resources will be on our Facebook group.
School closures, wow this is a big one, are we closing are we not? The thing is it's a day by day process, awaiting the next government guidelines so let's be prepared, there will be a list of school type resources you may wish to use on our Facebook group.
Carers – Carers UK have some advice so thought it would be beneficial to share here: https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19
Keep washing hands and follow the guidelines set out for us – we must all work together and make sure we look after and think about our most vulnerable – let's be safe for them too!
During isolation Reach NW are here, we are on our Facebook group for all North West families, we will be posting links and scheduling chats and a list of home school resources etc we are there for advice and support when you need it, isolate when instructed but don't be a stranger – keep in contact through our FB group here:
All that's left to say is take care, stay safe!