Wednesday 29 April 2020

Coronavirus: Italian village lets residents with autism and ADHD go to beaches

Staying indoors for a long time could be traumatic for people with conditions, authorities say

An Italian village has allowed people with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to go to the beach during the coronavirus lockdown.

The measure aims to help those who might particularly struggle with the order to stay indoors in Salve, southern Italy.

“Having to stay at home and only go outside for strictly necessary reasons is difficult for everyone, but especially for people with certain conditions,” the Comune di Salve said.

“For them, staying shut away in the house for a long time risks being a properly traumatic experience which could give rise to self-harming behaviours.”

People with these conditions can now go to a number of beaches in Puglia on the Ionian sea which are shut off to other members of the public during the nationwide lockdown over Covid-19.

Authorities have told people in Italy to stay at home unless it is essential – for example, to go to work or get groceries – in a bid to tackle the spread of the virus.

Those with autism and intellectual disabilities are able to go outside for health reasons as long as they stay near their house, according to the national rules.

However, Salve has decided to let people with these conditions move outside this area so they can go to the sea, as long as they are accompanied by a relative or helper.

The mayor, who has an autistic son himself, said “life has drastically changed” for families with autistic members in the lockdown, according to an Italian news agency.

“Now, at least my son can play in the place he loves, between the sand and the sea,” Francesco Villanova told ANSA.

Italy has been in lockdown for over a month as it battles the pandemic, with all public gatherings banned and restrictions placed on movement.

Nearly 190,000 people have been infected with the virus in the country to date.

The death toll for coronavirus patients stood at around 25,500 on Friday, according to official figures.

(Source: Independent)

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