Andy spends Monday to Friday at Hearth Trust and goes home to live with his parents at weekends in Trentham.
When Level 4 was announced support workers and Andy’s family discussed the best option for his support, and due to respiratory health issues he had in 2019, decided that being home with his parents and sister would be the safest option for his health.
He spent just over three weeks of Level 4 at home.
Mum Jackie says a big part of his day was WhatsApp and Zoom calls to keep connected with his friends at The Hearth Trust house and at Thumbs Up learning and recreational centre, which he usually attends three days a week.
“He coped very well. He just loved Zoom calls with Thumbs Up. These were a couple of times a day and they tried to keep as close to the programme as they could.”
He also enjoyed daily Zooms on his iPad with his friends and support workers from Hearth Trust home. “It was exciting for him when he saw them on the screen. He would see Corey, Tim and Hadleigh and we would get a great reaction from him – lots of calling out.”
He also enjoyed listening to music and was always busy.
“He did not like going outside much while he was here. Whether he had picked up on anything being different we don’t know. He just liked to keep to the house.”
Transitioning from home back to the Hearth Trust house was not a problem.“He really does love it there. He was thrilled to be up there again. He runs off and gives us a flick of his wrist to say goodbye. He has got a life there and a life here.”
Hadleigh says they were pleased to welcome Andy back to the house as his housemates missed him.
Without his usual activities, a new timetabling system was created and Andy had a lot more one-on-one time with his support workers than usual.
“Andy thrives on variety and activity. Every day we sat down and he decided what he wanted to do and he would write down the things he was planning to do for the day.”
Andy loves being in the kitchen and making smoothies for his housemates and this became a regular ritual during Lockdown. He’s also a baker – usually responsible for baking muffins for his housemates’ lunch boxes on Tuesdays – and enjoyed more time for baking during Lockdown.
Another change to his routine was that he couldn’t do the weekly grocery shop which he usually does on Tuesdays with a support worker.
He likes being inside and doesn’t go outside a lot, Hadleigh says, but during Lockdown he loved riding his tricycle, sometimes donning his dragon onesie for his ride, and ventured out into the garden.
“It was an amazing thing for Andy to be going outside so much. He even tried his hand at gardening.”
Andy likes writing and did this on his whiteboard and on hand-drawn cards. “He is also very social and has a number of friends and liked calling them on Skype during Lockdown.”
He loves doing yoga and is very flexible. During Lockdown Andy would do yoga from YouTube with Hadleigh, use his Swiss ball and even do some advanced acro yoga.
“He loves dancing too so sometimes we would start yoga and he would add on some dancing all around the lounge too!” says Hadleigh. – 17 September 2020
- This article appeared in Life in a Pandemic, a book about disabled and autistic people in Covid-19 Lockdown, 2020. © Life Unlimited Charitable Trust (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha).