Jack Cavanagh is 17 years of age and attends a Residential setting in the Vale of Glamorgan. Jack went to the Residential setting in November after his special school in Pembrokeshire could no longer support his needs. When the residential setting went into lockdown on March 13th 2020 Jack had only just been discharged from hospital after a serious illness. During his time in hospital, his family never left his side. Before the lockdown Jack saw his family every weekend.
Jack’s mother, Dawn, wanted Jack’s story to be heard. She felt that people with learning disabilities living in residential settings could easily become one of many ignored voices of the pandemic. So, she approached Joe Powell, Chief Executive of All Wales People First, to discuss a way for Jack to capture and share his ‘Coronavirus’ story.
This story is being written 14 weeks since Jack last saw his family.
The following is Jack’s story, based on snippets of Skype conversation with Jack’s parents and a Skype conversation between Jack, Dawn and Joe Powell. Thank you to the staff at Jack’s residential setting for helping to arrange the Skype chats.
Hello. My Name is Jack.
Since lockdown I speak to Mum and Dad using Skype.
I also speak to Mum and Dad on the telephone.
When I speak to my Mum and Dad on Skype, I sometimes type rather than talk.
I often ask Mum and Dad when I can come home.
When I speak to Mum and Dad on Skype, sometimes I won’t show my face.
The coronavirus makes me feel…
It helps when my Mum and Dad send me a love heart.
I like to send love hearts back.
I am really missing my family.
I can’t wait to see them again.
To help with lockdown my family bought me a new
My support staff put it together. Here I am riding it.
My Mum sent me her jumper so that I can smell her.
I like to wear Mum’s jumper and cuddle up to it.
My keyworker worked with my Mum to help create a photo wall.
My photo wall shows lots of happy memories to help cheer me up when I’m feeling sad.
Here is a picture of me with my photo wall.
My key worker and support staff are honest and open with me about the cornavirus.
They try to answer my questions the best they can.
This helps me to manage the big changes in my life.
Here is one of the social stories used to help me understand about the coronavirus.
Here is part of my chat with Mum and Joe Powell from All Wales People First:
Joe: So, what are you up to Jack, during Covid, lockdown?
Jack: I have to stay where I am
Joe: That’s safe isn’t it?
Dawn: What were you telling Mum before we all came on Jack?
Jack: Mummy, coronavirus
Dawn: Yeah, you were telling me about that, weren’t you darling?
Jack: Not very nice
Dawn: No, it’s not
Joe: No, it’s not great, is it?
Jack: Can I come home yet Mummy?
Dawn: As soon as possible Jack, as soon as possible. As soon as we can, darling. Mummy is doing everything she can and as soon as this virus is gone. I promise. Okay.
Jack: Coronavirus. It’s a nasty virus
Dawn: Yeah, I know
Joe: Are you worried about it, Jack?
Joe: We all are Jack. It’s understandable, it’s perfectly understandable, but we’ll get through it. I know we will.
Joe: So, do you have any hobbies Jack, any things you like to do in the day time like to take your mind off worries?
Joe: What are they Jack?
Jack: Go on Minecraft
Dawn: What else do you like Jack? You like Minecraft, what else?
Jack: What else do I like Mummy?
Dawn: What do you like to watch?
Jack: What else do I like to watch?
Dawn: Has a rabbit in it
Jack: Alice in Wonderland. Mummy I really like Alice in Wonderland
Joe: Who’s the best character in Alice In Wonderland, Jack?
Jack: The Mad Hatter
… Here I am chatting to Mum and Joe about the Coronavirus, Minecraft and Alice in Wonderland.
I am looking forward to getting to know Joe a bit better.
But most of all I am looking forward to the end of lockdown!