Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Zoe Tinsley

Category: Action and activities

Being a winner is fantastic and has made me feel really special.

“When the going gets tough…”

Paraphrasing her favourite song, ‘When the going gets tough, Zoe shines brighter!”

Zoe is a courageous lady who has been through a difficult journey to get to where she is today, gradually taking back control of many aspects of her life. In particular, Zoe has been determined to reduce her psychotropic medication and advocate for the STOMP campaign.

Anxiety and challenging behaviours have been a part of Zoe’s life for many years, and in the past Zoe would have found the coronavirus-enforced changes to her routine incredibly difficult to cope with.

But within a few hours of the lockdown message being shared, Zoe had worked with her team to think through a new schedule for her activities at home. She had a new plan for staying in touch with her sister, and she decided that she was going to find something to be grateful for every day.

The new plan included giving something back to the community in the form of regular litter picking. Zoe received a letter from Mother Earth to thank her for picking up litter and that made her very happy.

By finding something to be grateful for every day, Zoe has been able to focus on the positives and manage her feelings. A new pattern of meditation and yoga has also helped.

And having worked hard on her reading and writing, Zoe has also been able to write a coronavirus diary that has helped her think through her feelings.

Coronavirus has also helped her Zoe to improve her technology skills and she is now confident in using a tablet. This has opened up her world in terms of contacting others. She has three new pen pals from lockdown and she loves having this as part of her life.

Zoe is very close to her sister and finds being separated from her very hard. But socially distanced meetups have helped and she even organised and managed a socially distanced birthday picnic with her sister.

Zoe now acts as a supporter to other people with learning disabilities in her friendship group during lockdown video meet-ups. If someone was finding things difficult, Zoe would point out how lucky we were not to have the virus and how much we can still do. She would show others how to think about what they had to be grateful for.

Zoe’s sense of humour always makes other people smile, and when they were having a tough day in lockdown Zoe would always manage to make their day a little brighter.

Zoe has surprised people with her ability to cope, plan ahead and manage her emotions. There have been difficult times but each day she has found something to smile about. Everyone around Zoe was very worried about how lockdown would affect her, but they couldn’t be prouder of her reaction.

Zoe is leading from the front in setting an example of how to get through coronavirus with a smile on her face and as such, she’s a very worth winner of a position on the Leaders List. Zoe said that being a winner is fantastic and has made her feel really special. We hope this award found a space on her grateful board!

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