Note: This is a personal blog, intended for friends and family; I doubt it will be of much interest to anyone else
I have a son, Moshe, who is severely autistic. He is 22 years old, but cannot talk and in most ways acts like a pre-schooler or even a toddler. Moshe’s autism has been one of the hardest things in my life, and has shaped my career as well as my personal life. One reason I co-founded Data2text and Arria was because I needed money in order to get better care for Moshe and more respite for my family.
Anyways, since 2012 Moshe has been a weekly boarder at a local special-needs school, Camphill. He is at Camphill during the week, and home during the weekends. Recently he’s also started staying at Camphill one weekend a month, which makes it much easier for the rest of the family to travel (Moshe will not go on an airplane). But he has still been coming home for most weekends.
When lockdown started in late March, though, Camphill said that Moshe could not travel back and forth between home and Camphill, he would need to either stay at Camphill fulltime or stay home fulltime. We decided he should stay at Camphill, which I think was the right decision, but this meant that we only saw him on Skype calls (Camphill did not allow us to visit him at the school; they are very careful because some of their students have health problems and physical disabilities). However in late Sept Camphill decided it was OK for Moshe to come home for a week as long as we were ultra-careful with social distancing, etc. So on 25 Sept we got to see him once again! For a few days (until my younger daughter Naomi left to go to university in Oxford), we had all three of our children at home, which does not happen often.
Below are a few pictures I took. These are all very simple activities, but they are what Moshe likes to do.
Sitting on the Beach
Moshe and I are sitting on the beach. The beach is close to our house (20 min walk), and Moshe has always loved the sand and water! He is wearing bright green ear defenders; like many autistic people, he is sensitive to noise.
Jumping on his Trampoline
This is Moshe jumping on his trampoline. When he is home and the weather is good, he loves to spend time on his trampoline.
Doing a Puzzle
Moshe also loves doing jigsaw puzzles, and in fact is better at jigsaw puzzles than I am. This is a great activity when its hard to go outside because of bad weather.
Waiting for Ice Cream
Like most children, Moshe loves ice cream. Here he is sitting with my wife Ann outside of an local ice-cream cafe. The cafe has indoor seating, but we decided to play safe and have ice cream outside, even though it was drizzling (very light rain).
Moshe will eat endless amounts of yoghurt.
Watching a Movie
When there is nothing else to do, Moshe likes to relax and watch movies. Here he is watching Zootropolis; other favourites include Moana and El Dorado.
Going for a Walk
I like to take Moshe for walks. Here he is on a pedestrian bridge (which dates back to medieval times) near our house. We often see seals and birds from the bridge; on one memorable occasion we saw on otter on the bridge (the otter was on the bridge, not in the water!).