Prior to COVID 19, Matt Dolan’s routine was to come to ODC five days a week. He worked part of his day on projects within ODC, and participated the rest of the day in a variety of Day Services activities.
When COVID happened, Matt’s entire routine changed, as, for a period of time, he could no longer come to ODC’s facility the way he had in the past.
In order to keep Matt engaged and connected, and to support his family during this time, ODC staff developed new ways to serve Matt.
“Matt’s family had expressed how difficult this sudden shift was for Matt, and for their family”, said Julie Strenn, ODC Executive Vice President. “We initially began sending ODC Support Specialists to Matt’s home to spend time with him there, and started taking him to some of his favorite places. Now Matt will gradually begin to return to the center for a few hours each week, to give him the opportunity to work and engage in activities at ODC again”.
Matt and his ODC Support Specialists Aleasha and Louie are reading books, visiting Hamus Park, and taking drives through Wildwood Zoo, all while following social distancing guidelines.
Baking is one of Matt's favorite activities so they have been trying new recipes, some from scratch!
Harry Dolan, Matt's father, states, "One of the most important things Matt gets from ODC is structure to his day. Structure and predictability are very important to people with autism and when something changes, that predictability they often find it very difficult to cope with it. That was our first worry when ODC announced that it had to suspend center based operations due to COVID-19, and we were so happy to learn that they had a plan do deal with it in the form of in-home services."
Kathy Meyer, Matt’s mother, said, "We were so grateful when ODC found a way forward for Matt in the COVID crisis that continued his relationships with his coaches at ODC. Matt has very few interests that we can engage him in, and very few social opportunities to grow because of his particular autism. He loved seeing and spending time with Aleasha and Louie, and together all of us could be consistent helping him learn new skills. Thank you ODC."
Aleasha says “We are trying to restore some sort of normalcy to their lives. We are doing our best, I know they appreciate it, but I appreciate it, I enjoy the interaction. I’m glad it works out.”
ODC has many stories of ways that we have adapted during this pandemic. Stay tuned for future stories as we love sharing them with you!
ODC is non-profit, community service organization committed to empowering people with disabilities to achieve their work and life goals. We appreciate our many donors who are committed to helping us continue services. Your help is needed now more than ever.
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