My boys do karate twice a week, and until lockdown this was in a local high school. The night of lockdown they did their purple belt grading in a local hotel, as the school had closed. The staff were literally locking up the hotel as they left!
We were unsure how the club was going to continue, as much for the people who run it and is their livelihood, as for our boys. They are both autistic and our eldest has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as well. Karate has improved their self-esteem, social skills and in the case of our eldest, his focus and concentration.
So how did we overcome this? Zoom!
It's been both amazing and at times hilarious, especially at the start with people trying to connect and failing – there was a lot of “Rosie, are you there?” “No, she’s gone…oh wait, she’s back!”, but it’s been a lifeline for our boys. It’s a continuation of their normal life, and although they haven’t physically seen their friends, they all see and talk to each other over Zoom twice a week.
We even managed to connect our laptop to the TV so they are working from a large screen instead of Dad’s mobile phone! That was something of a challenge…. Their next grading is in the first week of July and given that our youngest has done more classes as he is at home, both of them should be ready to go for their next belt…it might even be over Zoom!
I know we grumble about technology and how it can present barriers, but in this case, it has enabled the club owners to keep their business alive and our boys to retain some semblance of a normal life.