During these strange times, we have all had to find ways to stay connected. Typically, my son is very involved in the community through sports, social gatherings, outings, etc. When the shutdown began, we couldn’t imagine how he would be able to see his friends and stay active. But then came Zoom.
Tennis, basketball, baseball, taekwondo, yoga, taiko drumming, cooking classes, art classes, and game nights with friends are just a few of the things my son was very involved in every week. Things looked bleak until we received an email from his taekwondo instructor that they were learning how to do taekwondo virtually through Zoom.
This was all new to all of us. The first few classes were rough with disconnections, audio not working, and camera not coming through, but after only a few classes, things were running smoothly. My son can now attend four or five classes a week to work toward his first-degree black belt.
Shortly after this first program was underway, we heard from his yoga instructor, who also was going to start teaching her classes on Zoom. My son was used to attending her class in person two days a week, and yoga has been instrumental to his mental and emotional well-being. We designated one room just for yoga with yoga mats, eye pillows, blankets, and pillows, as well as great smelling essential oils in a diffuser to try to make it as similar to his regular class as possible. It worked! We got excited with each program that turned to Zoom to continue to run.
Finally, we received word from his taiko drumming instructor that they too would be attempting to use Zoom to continue Japanese taiko drumming. We set this up in our garage. Another success! He practices each Saturday morning and is a happy guy.
The biggest benefit of all of these Zoom sessions is seeing his friends. One of the most valuable parts of his life as an adult are his friendships. He has now added Zoom meetings for games like bingo and trivia. It has been great to see him chatting again with his peers, whether it’s during taekwondo, yoga, drumming, or a simple game of bingo. Zoom has made his life a bit more normal during these times of social distancing. This family is very grateful for the invention of Zoom and how it has kept so many activities going.
Judy Clute, an Autism Resource Specialist in Raleigh, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tags: #StayAtHome, autism, autism asperger parenting tips, autism resources, autism social skills, Autism Spectrum Disorder, coronavirus, COVID-19