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New device has a positive impact on Waqar after a challenging year in lockdown

We hear from Waqar's mother Parveen about the positive impact receiving a device from SmartLyte via our Connecting Families project had on Waqar and the wider family.

By Carys Thomas · 15/06/2021

Parveen from Birmingham lives in a busy household with lots of comings and goings. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the UK into lockdown in March 2020, it left her family sharing one laptop between them with poor internet connection.

Parveen’s teenage son Waqar has severe autism, and is in his final year at secondary school. In order to make sure Waqar’s schooling wasn’t interrupted, she got in touch with a school in the area who gave them temporary use of a laptop.

However, due to Waqar’s challenging behaviour, which became worse following lockdown, Parveen feared that the device could get damaged and she would have to pay for it.

Parveen says: “It got to the stage where I told the school that I didn’t know what to do. Financially, I’m already struggling – we just couldn’t afford to survive if Waqar damaged the laptop, so I ended up giving it back.”

Becasue using the device has made him calmer, it has made us as parents a lot calmer.

It was at this point that the school referred Parveen to Smartlyte, a community partner in Good Things Foundation’s Online Centres Network. The school had been working with Smartlyte on the Connecting Families programme and identified Parveen as somebody that would benefit from receiving a device. Parveen explains: “Being given a device from the Connecting Families programme took away the fear and worry that comes with borrowing one.”

Parveen saw an immediate positive impact on Waqar. The device has allowed Waqar to put a CV together for the first time so that he can start applying for colleges in September. But his behaviour has changed the most: “Before receiving the device his behaviour went to the extreme and was very challenging”, Parveen says. “He never really had full use of technology because we only had one laptop in the household. When he received the tablet it changed him and his entire outlook.”

The change has been beneficial for the whole family as well as Waqar. Parveen continues: “Because using the device has made him calmer, it has made us as parents a lot calmer. We don’t have to focus on dealing with his challenging behaviour as much now. Because he’s focusing on something proactive, it’s lessened the stress on us. The device has given him more responsibility and he’s matured a lot since he began using it.”