Some tips for staying at home from Jane Oliver, Fragile X Society Senior Families and Professionals Advisor (Adult Enquiries)
It is a difficult time. Those all-important routines and that safe predictable structure has gone awry. So, what to do. Well, we really wish we had the answer…but we have a few ideas.
Try to keep calm. This is not easy we know. Just take a little time out for some relaxation techniques. Some of you might use Mindfulness which is great. But just simple breathing exercises can be good too. There’s lots to see online, we have included some examples below. You can also search for things like ‘square breathing’ or ‘breathing in the box’. These calming activities just take a few minutes.
· Some suggested breathing exercises from the NHS
· Headspace have some breathing meditations free.
Lots of people with Fragile X like to model their behaviour on others- you know what great mimics they are. So, they may want to try along with you and if you're calmer they may stay calmer too.
Try to keep to as many familiar things as possible. For example, don’t change that morning routine too much if you can help it. Keep some things familiar so the person can easily recognise something “in the right place and time” so a bit of routine still exists. Perhaps the early morning routine and last thing at night, mealtimes (if possible) - that kind of thing.
Don’t forget to use visuals. Make up a visual diary perhaps or even a schedule. This all helps with predictability and understanding. As we know, if someone is anxious they may find it harder to process information so people may benefit from visuals now, even if they don’t typically use them.
Easy Read: With all this in mind, would an easy read factsheet help explaining the virus?
· Learning Disability Wales have gathered together many of the available easy read resources, here.
Social Stories: Social stories can be a great way of demonstrating issues around coronavirus
· Carol Gray Social Story
· Books Beyond Words: Beating the Virus
Perhaps plan ahead. This might help with the change and could give a distraction too. So, go for those areas of high interest and see if there’s a plan B in there. Music, favourite bit of tech, DVD, a favourite activity . Is there anything there that you could tweak a bit?
Is it possible to teach something new? Growing seeds, making a video (use that mobile phone if you can), taking some pictures, learn a new dance routine - that kind of thing.
Below are some ideas for a Stay-at-Home Daily Plan and Activity Choice Boards, with thanks to Lisa Martin of Special World Training.
Keep that sensory feedback going too. How about some gardening activities? Get rid of those weeds, dig that flowerbed, empty that wheelbarrow…. And inside, how about some hoovering indoors, a bit of sweeping, anything that can give some calming feedback.
Any repetitive tasks are also good to have up your sleeve. Many people like to sort things or catalogue things. Everything needs to be in its right place so can this be incorporated into any everyday activities. Washing comes to mind - not a great example I know but the kitchen cupboard might need sorting?
Please remember that difficult moments will happen. You cannot plan for everything - it's just not possible. And…most of all please look after yourselves.