I refuse to call this “The New Normal”. This is NOT normal! But like all hopeful people, we are trying to make the best of it.
My daughter Amanda’s days used to be filled with outings, volunteer work, and social gatherings. She is like many adults with special needs and has a self-directed plan created by herself and her circle of support.
We realized real fast that she needed structure and meaningful activities in her day, even though she was staying mostly at home. These activities had to include a combination of social, self-care, productive, and family oriented items.
Now we have…The LIST!
An example of “The List”:
Put breakfast dishes in dishwasher (because the only activity she will do without being on the list is eat breakfast)
Pick up room
Do zoom yoga class
Go for walk
Put lunch dishes in dishwasher
Set table for dinner
Put clothes away
Give mom a BIG hug (because I usually need one after a long day)
Give dad a High Five (because he needs to have something too)
Give brother a noogie (because he deserves one)
Facetime with a friend
Variations of these 10+ items are on a list every morning waiting for her. She diligently checks off a task when it is complete. We change items up. Add new tasks. Stretch her in obligations. She sees her high school senior brother having zoom class meetings, her father having zoom work meetings, and me milling around my home office looking busy and she wanted to join in the “fun”.
It is important for Amanda to feel included. It is critical she feel she is helping. It is necessary she connects with her mentors and friends.
The List provides touches on all these needs. For the time being it has become our routine. We hope life will return to some semblance of what was normal. Until then, this is what we have. And it is working for Amanda
Written By Deb Cavanagh