Italiaanse stad opent stranden voor inwoners met autisme en ADHD onder afsluiting van het coronavirusapril 24, 2020
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A village in the south of Italy has allowed people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism to visit nearby beaches during COVID-19 lockdown.
The initiative comes from the village of Salve located in Salento. This area in the southern tip of Puglia is home to some of the region’s most beautiful beaches, including the so-called Maldive del Salento, which are currently closed to the public.
The town authorities announced that the beaches would be opened to sufferers of autism and intellectual disabilities who can struggle with staying indoors.
“Staying inside and not going out unless strictly necessary is difficult for everyone, but for particularly for those affected by certain conditions,” the Comune di Salve wrote on Facebook.
“For these people, staying at home for long periods risks real and serious trauma, which can result in self-harming behavior.”
The idea was proposed by the mayor of the town, Francesco Villanova, who is a father to a 9-year-old child with autism, as Il Corriere della Sera reports.
“For families with autism sufferers,” Villanova said, “after the restrictions imposed by the health emergency, life has changed radically.”
With therapy centers closed, teaching assistants no longer able to help, and no assistance at home, children with autism and their parents are struggling.
Currently, national rules state that people with intellectual disabilities are allowed to leave the house for health reasons but must stay in the vicinity of their homes.
The Comune di Salve, however, has permitted access to beaches for people with these conditions, provided they are accompanied by a helper or relative.
One resident commented, “I’m a teacher and I work with people suffering from this condition. I’m proud to be from Salve.”
The country is expecting to ease lockdown restrictions on May 4, but the reopening of beaches is a difficult issue.
Authorities are currently discussing how to ensure social distancing and safety measures are adhered to in beach resorts in the hope that they can reopen for summer.
In the meantime, Villanova hopes other towns will follow suit and provide access to beaches for sufferers of autism. He described his village’s decision as “commendable” and “an example which should be followed by other towns.”
Having taken advantage of the new measures himself, Villanova said, “now my son is happy. I’ve already taken him to the sea and, as always, he couldn’t resist jumping in.”