Coronavirus brings new challenges for Phoenix 11-year-old with special needs

Living in isolation can be challenging for kids with special needs.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Life these days hasn't been easy for 11-year-old Louis Reyes. "I miss going to the store, I miss going to school," he said.

Reyes has faced plenty of adversity in his life. He has cerebral palsy and spina bifida. But life during a pandemic is impacting him differently.

"Sometimes I will be fine, then one day I will be crying non-stop, being just really rude and not myself," said Reyes.

While in isolation, he can't do the typical things that bring him joy. His mother, Paulina Serna, is now worried about his mental health.

Serna is a single mom of three. She's now taking on more responsibility with Reyes at home all day.

"He always needs someone to be there with him, assisting him with everything," said Serna.

But Serna is finding ways to cope by reaching out to other parents of children with special needs.  

"One of the things that comforts me is that I am not the only one going through this. We can talk and problem solve together," said Serna.

Local counselor Katie Tiffany said it's also important for parents to take time for themselves.

"If I am not taking care of myself, then I can't take care of my family, and I can't take care of my children," said Tiffany.

For now, Reyes finds his own comfort in knowing his mother will always be there for him.

"I feel very lucky to have my mom, during this pandemic. Lucky to have her every day, pandemic or not," said Reyes.

The Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council is offering resources for families right now. Find more information here.


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