Adults with disabilities adjust to life while social distancing

Posted at 3:33 PM, Apr 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 20:27:11-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— Seth celebrated his birthday last month with his friends just about the only way you can nowadays: Virtually. He’s one of the dozens of participants at the Ability Center of Virginia who are now connecting with their friends virtually.

“It’s hard for anyone to understand what’s going on in our world and especially when you have a disability that might limit your ability to process things,” says Ability Center of Virginia Executive Director Michelle Prendergast.

The Ability Center of Virginia is a welcomed routine for adults with disabilities. Monday through Thursday, they see their friends and get out into the community when they might otherwise be isolated.

“I spoke with Marvin (a participant) yesterday, and he’s like, 'Michelle, I miss the fellowship and I can’t wait to get back,' so they’re adjusting the best they can, but it’s challenging,” says Prendergast.

For now, they have their Zoom calls to keep in touch while the center is closed.

"It has been challenging. A lot of them are still used to their routines and they like the same thing every day... we’re in week four now. It’s getting a little bit better," says Prendergast.

Different guests brighten the long days. Many are local musicians like Karl Werne and Skye Zentz, who are sharing their talents through virtual concerts where all the participants can watch and sing along.

The uplifting words and melodies bring smiles to their faces and allow them to connect with their friends while they’re miles apart.

The group now meets three times a week through Zoom. Tuesday and Thursday, they are joined by a guest, and Wednesday there is a planned arts and crafts activity.

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