DON'T LEAVE MY SON BEHIND
WOMAN'S OWN|September 21, 2021
For those with learning difficulties and autism, like Penny Wincer’s son, emerging from lockdown can feel daunting
PENNY WINCER

The summer and loosening of lockdown may have been in full swing over recent months, but after a year in isolation, these newfound freedoms have taken a toll on families like mine.

My 11-year-old son Arthur is autistic and has learning difficulties. This year has been extremely hard for him, as it has been for anyone who has a lot of difficulties processing information.

Alongside lockdowns, last winter we quarantined four times as a family, with each period of complete isolation then followed by an equally difficult transition back into the world.

Now we are making our first steps into the wider community, beyond school, the park, and the local shop, and it’s as if we are learning to live from scratch. Years of hard work leaked away with each passing month of the pandemic.

What we’ve experienced this past year or so is a forgetting of how to exist alongside others. Things that were a huge challenge before – crowds, queues, waiting – now seem impossible to navigate, particularly given the added rules of social distancing.

FEELING EXHAUSTED

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