Managing Special Needs During Pandemic

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With Autism Awareness Month being upon us, this episode brings an opportunity to discuss how the global pandemic and other world changes impact the special needs community and those who love and support them.

“The impact for the families we know and love here at Turning Pointe has been profound,” said Carrie Provenzale, Executive Director  of Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.  “Our families often times find themselves living extremely isolated lives from the greater community.  So the global changes we’ve lived through this year have just further isolated these families and their care givers.”

Guests on the Show

  • Carrie Provenzale – Executive Director, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation
  • Dr. Lisa Konick – Clinical Psychologist, Konick & Associates
  • Tarek Fayoumi – Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Graduate
  • Joe Hammad – Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Parent
  • Gia Pizzoferrato – Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Parent
  • Marisa Zirlin – Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Parent

“A lot of our families have a lot of services in place and they really rely on that and a lot of that has been abruptly pulled back and unavailable to them,” said Konick.  “So we’re seeing a lot of families struggling socially, emotionally, behaviorally.”

Doing Their Best to Adapt

Hammad, parent of a 23-year-old with autism, recalled his reaction to the pandemic when it first began and talks about how no one can ever truly be prepared for something like that, especially when you have a special needs child.

“But you try to improvise, do what you can and try to make some routines at home,” said Hammad, who explained how his son Adam has done rather well at home.

“It’s all about thinking what your passion is and then making your environment around that passion,” Fayoumi added, suggesting to others that continuing to attend to your hobbies can be a coping mechanism during this difficult time.

For host Dana Davenport, this topic is one that is personal, as her son Trey was diagnosed with autism at the age of seven.  Like many other families, the two have navigated school and activities remotely during the pandemic.

“I could not be prouder of my child,” Davenport said while closing out the show.  “That being said it is a very difficult time for many and I hope this episode brings awareness to this very important aspect of our community.”

About Dana

Dana Davenport is a Naperville resident who is passionate about life.  Originally from the northern suburbs of Chicago, she is now a Naperville resident and a graduate of Spelman College and the University of Chicago Law School.  An attorney and mother, Dana divorced in 2015, unleashing a new lease on life.  She has a live radio show on on Wednesdays at 9pm and is excited to bring that show to television audiences on Naperville Community Television each month.

Previously, Dana has appeared on “He Said She Said” with Wanda Bee, “The Drive at 5” with Roman, and “Jaw Jackin” with Bob and T.C., and she was a relationship advisor on the “Gift of Gab Show” with Gabby Smith.