12 Weeks of Socialising via Technology

Rochelle Followes by Rochelle Followes Additional Needs

Rochelle Followes

Rochelle Followes

I am parent to a gorgeous little blue eyed boy who has complex needs. I have a Facebook page, 'my daily miracle' where I share our life with others...

As we are all aware, some more than others, we are living through a huge pandemic. A very serious, life threatening virus has spread across many countries, and is becoming more of an issue over here in the UK.

This will be affecting every single person in a different way.

The NHS is under huge pressure with more and more patients becoming poorly.

The Government has the whole country listening to their every word as they lead the country through something none of us have experienced before.

Key workers are on the front line keeping the country going, whilst putting their lives at risk.

A huge thank you to every single one of the above for their time and efforts at this time!

For us as a family, living with a child who is classed as vulnerable with medical needs, it has forced us to isolate with extreme measures, to prevent our little boy from contracting the virus. Which is absolutely fine, as it's necessary to do so, and will give Zachariah the best chance throughout this time. To some degree, we have had experience with self-isolation before, and keeping people away from the home if they feel unwell. Zachariah is under respiratory, and takes prophylactic antibiotics, he is prone to chest infections and classed as vulnerable. We limit activities during winter months and monitor his health daily. However, this form of isolation is a whole new level.

Although we are counting every single blessing at this time, we have a safe, accessible home and garden for Zachariah to continue to thrive, we have found challenges in form of communication.

For Zachariah, he needs the whole sensory experience to truly benefit from other people’s company. He needs you to touch his hands or face, hear and feel you there with him, and smell you. He bounces off the atmosphere of laugher, and conversation. He requires you to be present with him to be able to really engage with you.

With that in mind, facetiming his family and friends has been an extremely confusing time for him. Hearing their voices through an iPad has almost shocked him. He knows the voices but is left wondering where the interaction is, that would usually come with it.

In normal circumstances, family, friends and teachers will go straight in for his hands to greet him, and then move to his wild hair and brush their fingers through it. This is what Zachariah has demanded over time, everyone has spent time to get to know this about Zachariah and built their own way of communicating with him. Now that we are on lock down, with no one in the home other than his Daddy and I, he is really missing the daily interaction with his family, carers, teachers, and friends.

But we must look at this as a blessing, technology right now helping so many people stay in touch, and for that we must be grateful.

Other blessings may include having the time to be still with your children, start something new with them, or work on projects you thought you may never get to do.

We have just started our 6th week of self-isolation, and the cracks are beginning to show. It really does take a community to raise a child with Zachariah's care needs, so when the world goes on lockdown and it is down to you to wear all of the hats, it becomes extremely tiring. We have gone from carers several times a week to no help at all overnight, which has taken its toll on us both as parents. I have tried my best to keep a routine, give myself time out, create a jobs list to work through, and found new activities for us to try as a family.

I want to give a huge shout out to my fellow parents/carers out there, who are home-schooling, and being the sole carer for their child right now.

For those, like us, who have had to shut the door from carers, medical helpers and respite. For those who are struggling to cope with the everyday demands of looking after a child with disabilities.

For those who are experiencing new levels of anxieties as they fear themselves or their child contracting this awful virus.

For those who have children too poorly to be home.

For those who must go out to work.

To every parent/carer out there... you have got this!

You are all doing amazing, I am sure of that! Keep on going, and we will get through to the other side together.


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