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‘It takes stress away from parents’ - Mum’s visual aid cards for five-year-old are hit across town

PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 September 2020 | UPDATED: 06:57 18 September 2020

Melanie created visual cards for her son Harry after she felt people with autism had been ignored by government. PHOTO: Melanie Lord

Melanie created visual cards for her son Harry after she felt people with autism had been ignored by government. PHOTO: Melanie Lord

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A mum who created a set of visual cards for her autistic son to help him understand the coronavirus crisis has shared her joy after they were used in schools, hospitals and GPs across her town.

Melanie's cards help people with autism visualise what they must do when going to get a coronavirus test. PHOTO: Melanie LordMelanie's cards help people with autism visualise what they must do when going to get a coronavirus test. PHOTO: Melanie Lord

Melanie Lord, from Lowestoft, initially created the cards for her five-year-old son Harry who suffers from autism, to help him understand the changes to his routine which were brought about by the pandemic.

Miss Lord, 31, a beautician, said she was sparked into action after seeing lockdown affecting Harry’s emotional wellbeing - and then others asked if they could use the cards too.

“People like my son need to be able to see things visually in order to process and understand changes to their routine,” she said.

“So I decided to make these cards for my son at the beginning of lockdown and then when I put out a status about it on my Facebook page, other organisations across the local area such as doctor’s surgeries, hospitals and schools also started using them.”

Visual cards help people with autism understand and interpret information more effectively. PHOTO: Melanie LordVisual cards help people with autism understand and interpret information more effectively. PHOTO: Melanie Lord

She has produced two sets of cards.

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The first set are designed to visually guide people with autism who are getting a drive through coronavirus test and the second set are aimed at those visiting the doctor’s during the coronavirus pandemic.

She explained: “Visual aids are part of their communication and are used to process information as sometimes they can get their words muddled and this can send their brain into overdrive.

“Anybody can understand visual cues and it is good because it takes the stress and worry away from parents.”

There are no specific practical solutions published by local or national government that provide parents or carers with practical solutions to help those with autism come to terms with the pandemic.

Waveney MP, Peter Aldous, acknowledged the work local charities and support groups in Lowestoft are doing to help those with autism adjust to the coronavirus pandemic - but that there were shortcomings.

He said: “It is great that those in the area, as well as local charities and support groups, are responding with such imaginative initiatives.

“It is important that those with additional needs receive the necessary support to help them through this very challenging period and I’m highlighting to Government where shortcomings are brought to my attention.”


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