Image source: Edutopia.org
New dimensions certainly seem to have crept into activities of daily living. Ominous circles drawn a metre apart on roads and footpaths are a constant reminder to maintain physical distance. Queues outside shops, banks, clinics and hospitals invariably enforce social distance; though the sheer number of people stepping out of their homes post lockdown often makes it difficult to enforce social distance. Scenes of worried or concerned persons calling out others for being too close can be seen everywhere. Masks and gloves in the presence of others is an important part of life now. With all these measures in place, new dimensions of presence and community are emerging as well.
Snehadhara Foundation is also in the process of training, sensitising and developing measures to bring social distance and safety practices into Snehadhara’s care and support for children and adults with special needs. Helpful guidelines and best practices are being discussed world over in the disability space and these are useful models to adopt in the care and support for the children and adults. Yet the wider question is how do we share presence and community with others when the need is for intimacy and closeness? Holding someone’s hand, a hand on one’s shoulder, a playful tap on the head, a warm hug- is there space for all of this in the post lockdown world?
Everywhere leaders, healthcare practitioners and therapists are encouraging people to maintain social distance but not emotional distance. Advice on acceptable physical contact and underscoring emotional proximity is aplenty. Social media and virtual connections are some modalities of exploring such proximity. Among the modalities of being emotionally present and proximate, connections and experiences through the arts are a valuable resource as well. The arts offer a wonderful way of making or exploring connections with others. The arts can give a new meaning to being present for another and within a community.
Image source: Cleveland Clinic
Image source: New York Times