Lives changed overnight when Wales went into Lockdown in March 2020. The Torfaen Autism Stakeholder Team were particularly concerned about the impact lockdown may have on children and young people.
We were contacted by parents/carers and grandparents who were concerned about how they would explain the virus to their children. They were also worried about how they would explain to children and young people that they could not do their usual activities, such as spending time with loved ones, visiting play areas, travelling further than 5 miles from home, or going to school or the shops. There were also concerns about how they would fill the time in their day without these activities.
We held a consultation via social media with families to find out how we could best support them. We suggested the possibility of providing Sensory Activity Packs, with the option of including a game, arts and crafts materials, or a time capsule/memory box. The idea behind the pack was to offer some activities that young people could introduce into their new daily routine. In addition, the activities provided were mainly sensory activities, so they would hopefully help to reduce anxiety in young people and their family members.
Families responded to the social media consultation and were very keen to receive a pack. Initially we made 50 available via social media and they were all requested within two hours. To date, we have provided 130 packs.
Outcomes were initially measured via a feedback form, and lots of families also took to social media with comments and photos of their children attempting activities.