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Six people smiling in their living room.
Callum, 20 years old, usually visits Little Harbour with his mum, dad and siblings.
Callum, who has Cerebral Palsy and complex medical needs, has been in lockdown with his family for almost seven weeks.

Callum and his family have been shielding to ensure that he can stay at home safely. Mum, Sarah, explains some of the challenges they have faced and offers some positive advice for other families in a similar situation. 

“We started lockdown as a family of six around 10 days earlier than the Government's request as we were increasingly worried about our eldest son, Callum, (who has Cerebral Palsy and complex health needs making him life limiting) catching the virus and being unable to fight it off effectively. As such, we removed all four children from school/college. Luckily, I was at the end of my second year of university studying Mental Health Nursing, so was already at home finishing off some essays and revising for final exams.

We have now been shielding for nearly seven weeks. After five weeks of trying, we finally got a regular delivery shop for groceries online. Prior to this, my elderly father was shopping for us, picking up any essentials, equipment and drug orders that we needed. My father is still collecting supplies that we need for Callum (drugs, syringes etc.).

We cannot take Callum out for a walk as we are worried that not everyone will move off the pavement if we meet someone and Callum's chair is motorised and too heavy to quickly move out of the way of oncoming people. At home, we have a decking area where Callum can sit in his chair and get some fresh air.

We have cancelled all carers coming into the home as we are worried that some may be virus carriers and will potentially pass COVID-19 on to Callum, so we are currently undertaking Callum's round-the-clock care ourselves and will continue to do so until we know everything is safe again.

Callum's siblings are continuing their school and college work from home and we have weekly phone calls from the schools and Callum's tutor to ask if we are okay and if there is anything they can do to help make lockdown more bearable for us. Our daughter, Steph (16 years old), got into a relationship just before our lockdown started and has been sad that she cannot see her partner. Brynley (15 years old) is missing his friends but speaks daily to them via the Internet. Bradley (11 years old) is missing playing outside on his scooter and has never spent this long in the house before at any one time.

To keep busy, we are not too hard on the children if they have not completed all their schoolwork. We play a board game every night and have done since lockdown began. We watch films daily. I have purchased a telescope so we can learn about the night sky whilst we all have time on lockdown. We choose food together once a week online, so we all get a weekly treat. We keep in touch with family and friends via Facebook video call.

Callum turned 20 years old in lockdown and we did a live video stream to friends and family, so they could share the moment with us.;

To be honest, being in lockdown is not much different to our normal life as raising a child with complex health needs, we never really had time to be sociable and felt very isolated anyway. It was rare that we would have visitors around as everyone is busy with their own lives, apart from carers coming in to help with Callum. The only difference is that we cannot go out as a family, I cannot attend university and the children cannot attend school and college.

Consequently, we have adapted to lockdown quite well and have a nice routine going. We would rather be in lockdown and safe than life carrying on as normal and being in constant worry.

Our advice would be;

-Don't worry about things you can't control.

-Enjoy the time as a family; you've been given time together, which is rare these days.  

-Find a new hobby or interest.

-Read that book you never got round to reading.

-Play a board game every night - we love this and look forward to it! 

-Don't try and be a teacher, just enjoy being a parent. 

-Stay positive and stay united; this will all be over one day, and you want nice memories to look back on.