Everything happened so fast! Practically overnight, COVID-19 uprooted my son, Ben, from his routine. As the owner-operator of Big Ben’s Shredding, he maintains his business Monday through Friday with support from his direct support professional (DSP), Bill Black. And during the week, Ben lives in a group home, but on the weekend, he stays in his family home.
Ben was in the group home when the sudden stay-at-home order was issued. I’m sure he began wondering: Where’s Bill? Why am I not at work? Why can’t I visit my family this weekend?
I knew that Ben would eventually find balance in this change to a new routine. He’s grown up a lot since moving to the group home. Where he used to accept a loving embrace when I dropped him off, now he’d rather his roommates not see his mom kissing him goodbye.
But I was concerned that the enforced social distancing might be one loss too many for my nonverbal son who lost his brother—my youngest of three sons—suddenly last November. They were very close, and Ben will still sit and cry; I think he misses his brother. My concern immediately focused on Ben’s need for assurance that the rest of his family was still in his world.
“It’s really important,” I told the group home’s staff, “that we make visual contact now because Ben is still grieving his brother.” I pushed for an iPad for Ben to use—and the group home provided one. I am so grateful to the staff for the FaceTime that my family now shares with Ben. He seems to be taking the disruption in stride.