Sophie Lynch – Pegasus, Canterbury
“I’m doing a diploma in business at Ara Institute of Canterbury. I started doing four courses this year.
I did a certificate in business at Ara last year. I like numbers, I like logic. I’m good at spreadsheets.
It was a pretty major achievement for me because I was doing NCEA Level 3 as well.
It had been going alright but things went a bit topsy-turvy after Covid 19.
I need to go into Ara, not just for the social stuff, but for the theory classes. I need to be doing them in class.Online doesn’t quite work the same. I struggle with communication as it is.
When Lockdown started, there was no communication with my tutors outside of Zoom calls and emails. Then Ara withdrew me from two of the courses. It took a long time to get hold of someone to explain what the situation was.
I just got this letter which said we’re withdrawing you. I passed the two courses – Applied Accounting and Introduction to Accounting and Taxation.
I had to go back to do an exam (recently). I’d forgotten how to talk to people, I was out of practice. Throughout Lockdown the only people I talked to were my parents and the people from Explore.
Lockdown was a lot of anxiety. I didn’t cope, I did internally panic, I just tried to ignore it so it would go away. I went into hibernation, sleeping. I kind of just panicked really. I didn’t know what to do. All the time (usually) I can just ignore my problems and they go away.
I wasn’t too worried about Covid-19, we seemed to have it under control compared to the rest of the world anyway. We were doing as well as we could be.
I couldn’t go to Ara or go to the (hydrotherapy) pool anymore; I wasn’t really getting any exercise, so Mum came up with the idea of a tricycle. We’d thought about getting a tricycle before. My body doesn’t cross my centre line so I can’t ride a normal bike, and that’s why we thought of a trike. It worked. I knew I would be better off with three wheels.
A tricycle has so many different benefits – exercise, socialisation, freedom, independence.If someone manages to get Lego on individualised funding, why not a tricycle?
There was one left up in Auckland for $995 and we got that one.
It’s awesome that bike. I can go to the pub to have a hot chocolate, or the café. It’s an outing. My two favourite things in life are eating and Maisie my dog.I can put the dog in the basket and take her to the dog park. I can bike four kilometres and I’m safe.
The novelty of being able to ride a bike, I’ve never been able to do that before. I hopped on it and I could do it straight away.
I’ll probably start swimming again as well at some point.
I like puzzles and solving things. Any kind of office job I can do. I have a lot of analytical skills.
As part of my next thing I want to go to SeniorNet and help with computers. It seems like something I can do. I find it easier working with people who are slightly older than me. I have a lot of skills which I feel comfortable passing on.
I’ve helped a lot of people in my class. That’s why I’m interested in helping at SeniorNet, if people are willing to learn, I’m quite happy to do that when I know what I’m talking about.” – 17 September 2020
- This article appeared in Life in a Pandemic, a book about disabled and autistic people in Covid-19 Lockdown, 2020. © Life Unlimited Charitable Trust.