I don’t know about you, but I’m sipping my coffee as I’m watching the news as they discuss the Covid-19 virus and promoting hand-washing and social distancing.
This news is on a 24 hour loop, with updates being pushed through daily, causing a level of stress and anxiety that many have never experienced before.
Along with social distancing are the adjustments to daily life, from educational needs for one’s kids, to the work enviroment shifting, as well as how to address medical needs.
The world is changing and adapting to these needs, and dare I say, the autism community is already prepared.
I don’t want to sound flippant, I really don’t. I know and understand the gravity of this situation and we are taking it very seriously.
Many in the community already know what daily life is like when it comes to social distancing. Parenting a child with the sensory issues that autism brings forces us to plan ahead and to be more aware of people, lights and sounds. It’s easier for us to develop at-home routines that fit well for our kids so they can thrive. Social Distancing? Yeah, personally we’ve been at a level of doing that some time. Just a bit of an increase in terms of hand sanitizing and less visits with friends and family.
For those curious as to medical concerns, autism families have to plan out appointments as well. Everything we do as an autism family revolves around established routines. Scheduling and Changing appointments or making different arrangements due to the environment of the day is ever present. We’re grateful for technology and are the first to promote telehealth where it can be taken care of via a video conference call. This allows routine appointments to go quickly. Again, as an autism family, we’re seeing this as a major advantage to assist in the daily care of our kids.
Education? Well, that’s where ‘normal’ or ‘neurotypical’ families have the biggest leg-up in our society. Autism families deal with Individual Educational Plans (IEP’s) and for a non-verbal special needs family – going the route of online education isn’t currently practical. We value our special needs educators, therapists and professionals. When they aren’t present, we parents have no choice but to take the brunt of educational duties. Suffice it to say the world of education for special education students is stretched at best – but is often broken during times like this.
So, when I see or hear families having challenges hanging out together and having difficulty being close – or arguing – just remember an observation from this non-verbal autism family…
At least your kid is able to express themselves verbally and tell you about their day. Mine, well, he expresses himself – just differently.
Take the best of what you have before you, your family and loved ones, and enjoy this moment. You won’t get another opportunity, so do it today.
Welcome to social distancing, folks. I raise my cup of coffee to you…and now I go back to my regularly scheduled program.