When Covid first began nine long months ago, I remember thinking about what impact this disease would have on the autism community. My kids were 13 and almost 17 when it began, my oldest being severely autistic and non-verbal. I recall thanking my stars that this pandemic had not taken place years ago when Justin, my eldest was younger. Back in the day he would throw his shoes at me every single day so I would take him someplace. It didn’t matter if it was a holiday or a raging snowstorm, he wanted to go out.
With age he has mellowed considerably, and he has taken his semi and full quarantines in stride. I’ve even been able to get him out for walks around the neighborhood which I hadn’t tried in years, which is good for both son and mama. Overall he has done really well during Covid- the only time I’ve known he was missing something was when he thrust Jenks boardwalk tickets into my hands and looked at me like “Woman, why don’t we go there anymore?” He has handled everything as well as can be expected, and so has my other son.
I think things are beginning to wear a little thin now however.
The few times I’ve had to take him to an in-person doctor’s appointment his enthusiasm knew no bounds. I felt kind of guilty not going anywhere fun, but he seemed okay with the excursion.
Maybe, after all, it’s just his mama who’s over all of it.
While my family has been lucky with the way my kids have handled the pandemic, I am certain there are other autistic families in the community who have not been as fortunate. I have friends with kids on the spectrum who not only love traditions around the holidays but have been quite vocal about wanting to continue them, even if they aren’t allowed to at this point. A few of my friends just had to quarantine their kids for two weeks, which basically means with winter break their kids are home for a month. Explaining why to an autistic child does not always translate well. It can be very stressful having any change in routine or any omission of a favored tradition.
I just want families to know many people are going through this- you are not alone.
I hope some relief is on the horizon, although four to six months seems like a long time away particularly with the next four months or so being winter. I hope all of you are coping as well as possible, and that somehow you’re able to carve out a little time for yourselves if you don’t have your kids home 24/7.
As my grandma would always say, “this too shall pass.”
And my wish for all of us is that it passes very soon.
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