Day care services in Huddersfield helped Archie smile again after lockdown.

Archie, 21, of Holmfirth, has a profound multiple learning disability and multi-sensory impairment.

Before the pandemic, Archie would attend Highfields Day Care Centre in Huddersfield.

For five days out of the week, he was supported with a repetitive daily routine, helping him to understand the world around him.

This support involved effective communication via touch cues, objects of reference and the use of his senses in intensive interaction sessions.

In March 2020, this service closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Families were advised to isolate themselves to keep safe and follow Government regulations and guidelines.

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Archie’s mum told how she noticed a deterioration in Archie’s physical and mental health, and a lack of engagement in the world around him after the service closed.

To help provide some structure again, the day centre team made weekly telephone calls to his home and advised Archie’s mum on ways she could support him from home and build back up a routine.

The team was able to offer a reduced community service to Archie and his family and eventually invited him back into Highfields itself and offer some familiarity and routine.

Although the year didn’t turn out how it was planned with another two national lockdowns and the service closed again the staff managed to continue some kind of routine to support Archie’s physical and mental health.

Archie is smiling again

Archie’s mum said: “This year has been so difficult for everyone. The fear of the virus has affected us all deeply.

“We managed when Highfields closed for quite some weeks but my son’s mental and physical health suffered greatly.

“Highfields offered us a support package to enable his daily physiotherapy to be done and that package has since been extended.

“I was assured right from the start that every possible precaution would be taken so that my son would be safe.

“I have been so pleased and relieved that this was put in place and have always been completely confident that the staff have done absolutely everything in their power to help keep him safe and well.

“They have even been able to make him laugh! The support has been a lifesaver for him. I cannot thank them enough.”