Shirley & Chie Poon, SBWILL Parents
“Tomorrow is Monday. School is closed. Please go to bed, Kar.” or “Tomorrow is Saturday. No school. Please go to bed, Kar.”
There it goes every night as we, Kar’s parents, make sure he is comfortable and snug in bed. He, in turn, dutifully vocalizes a reply, acknowledging he got it.
March 16, 2020, was the last program day at the South Bay Bascom Center of FCSN. But Kar vividly remembers the vibrant gathering of peers and teachers, and the lunch-hour gaiety. Most nights prior to a weekday, he invariably fetches his backpack, signature cubical lunch box and bag, and states in his silent way he is ready and wants to go to the program.
Closure of FCSN’s day program has affected everyone, Kar is no exception. However, we strive to maintain his good health, overall safety, and rich enjoyment of life as best as we can. Other than healthy meals, he exercises. He saunters outdoors in our company to experience the sights and sounds of the community and to synthesize sunlight for vitamin D. At home, he listens to music of his choice and gets leisure time in the backyard, in fresh air and tranquility, including swimming, weather permitting. Of utmost importance is aerobic exercise. He treadmills with our guidance. A few months ago, he was reluctant to step on the treadmill. One of us stood behind him and ensured that he paced safely on the tread belt. He has come a long way! As of now with music in the background he treadmills 28 minutes at 3-degree incline and at 2.2 mph, which is comparatively strenuous and faaa…ssst for him, with no interruption or desire to step out. Lunch follows the treadmilling, so, there is strong incentive for him.
But living at home with us 24/7 has obvious shortcomings. FCSN, however, came up with a splendid alternative – virtual classes. At lunch time and ZOOM time for Kar, he gets to see companions, mingle virtually, and hear pseudo-random joyful conversation. Of utmost stimulation to him is when his friends and some of his teachers enthusiastically say,
It makes him feel like he is hearing a proclamation over the fiber-borne waves, “Hi there, you are not alone, we will be seeing you in person soon.”