The space between 10-year-old Bentley and DePaul clinician Molly McPike-Copenhaver may have grown, but that space is still as safe as it always was.
Bentley, who has autism, is one of many connecting with DePaul’s community-based services staff members virtually. He meets with them a few times a week, and they make sure the virtual space still gives Bentley the freedom and courage to share his thoughts and feelings.
“Bentley is so much fun to work with because he is creative and funny,” said Molly. “He can really brighten your day.”
Community-based services are there for Bentley in many ways. He has the support and stability he needs. He is learning social skills and ways to interact with those around him. He has found a routine and schedule that works for him.
“I like being able to just calm down and get into a spot where I can be happier and all that good stuff, like mindfulness,” said Bentley.
Virtual conversation and distancing have been a difficult transition for many in the time of COVID-19. It has become harder to feel connected and easier to feel alone. It is that fact that has driven the DePaul Community-Based Services program to continue meeting needs no matter what. In Bentley’s case, this time of virtual connection has been successful. He is thriving.
“When we began working together, everything was up in the air regarding COVID-19 and schooling,” said Molly. “I think having something else to focus his attention on was helpful and we could talk together about feelings he was having regarding the uncertain times.”
Now it’s Tuesday afternoon and Bentley sits in front of his computer screen waiting for a very important meeting. This week, he is thrilled to discuss the new “Choose Your Own Adventure” series he has started. Yes, Bentley’s important meetings with DePaul staff look different these days. In fact, a lot looks different these days. But those meetings are still as important and as safe as ever.