With the state of the world at the moment in the midst of the current pandemic, we thought that it was important to try and focus on some positives. Thumbs Up has had to be run a bit different, as all of our support has had to have been from a distance. This has meant that there has been a lot of thinking outside the box about ways that we can still support and be supported. We have all learnt so much.
Staff have learnt things about their fellow staff members and discovered new skills that nobody knew they had (these will all be put in to play more once we are back and working from the Thumbs Up hall!). It has been very interesting to say the least.
One of the biggest challenges we have had is learning to use different technology and different forms of communication. Obviously we had to think about ways that we can stay connected, giving support and encouraging friendships, all from the comforts of our own homes. This was a huge learning curve for everybody.
- We have been making lots of videos and putting them up on our private Vimeo site. People are able to check in every couple of days, and there will always be new content. We would like to especially thank Shannon for continually uploading new content to the site whenever it is sent to her.
- We all learnt how to use Zoom so that we could continue to see everybody’s smiling faces and so that we can continue to run some of the sessions that we would normally be running from Thumbs Up. We are continuing to have our music sessions, drama sessions and even communication sessions via this app. We have even been able to have some fun new activities such as a Mad Hatters Tea Party, quizzes, coffee and chat sessions where we can all just chat and hang out together, just to name a few. It has been great to see more and more people being able to join in these sessions as time has gone on (and Shannon has helped families learn to use the app). It is wonderful to see that everyone is healthy and happy in their bubbles.
- Games and activities have been posted out to people that would enjoy them -who doesn’t like receiving mail (if it’s not bills).
- Emails have been sent out encouraging active communication, so lots of questions that need to be answered, and telling people what we are all up to
We feel like we are all still learning, but we are definitely getting better at Zoom, and the sessions are all running a lot smoother than they were at the beginning. We know that it’s not quite the same as being together every day, but we are very happy that we are still able to provide support in a meaningful way for everybody.