TOUGH TIME Scots teen with Asperger’s warns lockdown is ‘holding back’ vulnerable people from accessing social clubs

Posted: 18th March 2021

A SCOTS teen with Asperger’s has warned lockdown has “held back” vulnerable people from accessing social clubs and gaining vital “life tips”.

Taylor Gilmour, 19, said lockdown has made her feel “helpless” as she has had to stop volunteering with a local charity which works with children, young people and adults who have additional support needs and disabilities.

She said vulnerable young people are being “held back” from accessing clubs which help them socialise and gain “life tips.”

Taylor, from Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, was diagnosed with Asperger’s when she was 12.

She volunteers with Barrhead-based Include Me 2 Club, but since March last year it has been unable to operate due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Taylor has worked with the club for the past three years and it caters for around 40 children and young people, and 60 adults.

But she has found the break in her routine tough, as well as not being able to help other people.

She said: “I volunteer for a local club in Barrhead three times a week, working with adults with learning difficulties.

“Quite a lot of clubs have shut down. They help teach life tips.

“I’ve got friends with autism and we talk about what they’ve thought about lockdown – they’re being held back.

Taylor was studying nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University before deciding to defer for a year when the first lockdown kicked in last year as she felt unable to cope with online learning.

She also stopped taking driving lessons after feeling uneasy having to wear a face mask while behind the wheel.

Taylor, who lives in Paisley, said: “Before the first lockdown I was full-time at university, I’m a student nurse. I was also out with my pals all the time.

“I had something to do everyday. Then lockdown hit.

“I didn’t get to see my boyfriend or go into uni. I felt like my mental health should go first so I decided to defer.

“I prefer face-to-face learning rather than talking over a computer.”

Since the first lockdown, Taylor has moved into a flat with her boyfriend and got a new dog, ten-week-old French Bulldog Archie.

Taylor has also been working with NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect helpline during the pandemic.

However she has found the changes in lifestyle difficult, which the lockdowns have brought about.

She said: “Before they brought out the exemption cards it was quite difficult to go into a shop and be told why I’ve not got a mask on.

“I felt quite embarrassed about it and I shouldn’t. I got quite annoyed about it one time and just tole the guy ‘I’ve got Asperger’s’ – I think he felt quite bad afterwards.

“In uni I sit exams separately from everyone else because I get quite bad buildups of anxiety.

“It’s also the same with public places. When I was younger I used to hold my mum’s hand in Silverburn as a safety blanket.”

Taylor loves singing and also misses performing live at pubs and gigs.

She said: “I miss going out and singing. I took away the stresses that went on in the back of my head.


Source: The Scottish Sun (March 2021)

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