On 18 March 2020 Beudene Daycare for disabled closed their doors. This was before the National Lockdown was announced on 23 March 2020. This was such an unusual closure for Beudene as holidays are always associated with a year-end party, lots of festivities and presents. For our learners and their parents, it was an uncertain goodbye - without realising the true challenges of social isolation that lay ahead.
There were two sides of the coin. For the learners on the Autism spectrum it was convenient to hide away and not having to comply with social demands. On the other hand, for the mentally handicapped individuals, who thrive in social environments, it was disastrous. They suddenly lost all social interaction and purpose. They were stranded at home where they could not contribute to anything or share feelings and thoughts with anyone except their families.
At Beudene they care for one another in a real and tangible way. The contributions that they provide in the Beudene environment are a display of their skills and identity. These losses due to Covid-19 caused extreme anxiety and depression for some of our learners. Many of them were not able to express their feelings in a coherent and understandable way and it caused that some of them having to undergo psychological treatment.
The parents were completely unprepared to absorb the anxiety and depression of their children in these uncertain times. The reaction of the learners was totally unexpected and unprecedented. The demands on the parents were very high, they had to replace the friend, the therapist, the teacher, the caregiver and the social structure. They had to absorb not only their own fears and anxieties, but also the reaction of their children.