my AFK Blog - Lockdown Diaries

by Elaine Harman, Life & Work Manager

As we enter week 5 of lockdown, many of us have become accustomed to this ‘new normal’ of working from home, seeing family online and leaving the house as required.  For our trainees with learning disabilities and difficulties (LDD) this can be a very difficult new normal to adjust to.  It can take time for young people with LDD to get used to doing different things each day and changes to routine can cause high anxiety and frustration.


I am spending much of my time checking in with trainees and their families to make sure they are coping well, keeping busy and staying positive.  I encourage everyone, but especially those who are feeling isolated to join in with the social activities we are now running, but it the virtual coffee morning, cooking club, virtual lunch or yoga, this all helps create new routines and keeps trainees in touch with their peers.


From a work point of view, we are providing as much employability training online as possible, mock interviews, CV health checks, studying job descriptions and generally preparing for work once lockdown ceases.  It’s therefore imperative that we maintain the momentum of building skills even though work placements may be put temporarily on hold.


We have had to pause our travel training sessions which are key for our trainees to gain further independence, and often for the first time.  This is naturally a very practical course, so building confidence in other ways can be achieved online and we’ll all be ready to proceed when we can travel more freely again.

Many trainees now have time to discover talents they didn’t know they had, learn new things or revisit old hobbies.  Some are cooking, knitting, taking photos, drawing or dancing. You can find out more about our activities here.  Any activities that can aid confidence and improve focus are also essential qualities to gaining employment.  It’s also promoting better mental health and a sense of achievement, so crucial during this time.


We’ll get through this lockdown by staying in touch, be it weekly phone calls and texts to invites on Zoom to fun sessions or to improve their interview skills with a look through various job descriptions of their choice.


We encourage trainees to share their ideas, tell us what they’ve created and to send photos of daily life and this is inspiring everyone!

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