Autism Daily Life During The COVID-19 Outbreak

It can be upsetting when the world comes to a halt when bad news takes over. Right now it is the Covid-19 outbreak. School is done at home while you or your child’s daily routine in a school is disrupted. Anxiety sets in on when can we get back to our lives outside in society again, will my child still be learning without distractions, and how will I make an income to support me and my family. I will post some resources and tips below later.

            As I myself have autism and strive to be an independent adult, my everyday life is on halt as well. I am laid off from both of my part time jobs. My first part time job was in a Waikiki Holiday Gift Shop that had to close for 2 plus months. The state of Hawaii (where I live in) relies on tourism and souvenir sales. Even if it’s safe to go back to work, the business itself wouldn’t make much money since tourists have to be in quarantine for 2 weeks and or refrain from traveling. Most likely, it will go out of business for losing money. Although I didn’t make much from just starting in one week, I grew into my routine of stocking shelves, managing the cash register, and socializing with coworkers and customers. Then on top of that, the job I was also starting at as an RBT Autism Behavioral Therapist had to close for a while until its safe for more clients to come in. It brought me a lot of anxiety and depression and feel hopeless that something big is out of my control. I however am a high functioning autistic adult and I too get anxiety when my routine is on hold and I can’t do anything but just wait and see or do the best I can. 

            Some things that I had to learn were to keep a daily work home schedule along with my online college classes. I however am a visual learner and like to work around technology, so I use my Google calendar or the to “do list” app to check off what I do in order. It’s a relief for even my OCD to complete something! Also many autistic children and young adults aren’t natural extroverts, so many can see the lock down as a way to enjoy being alone with our video games and hobbies. Being alone for too long without family or friend support from home or on video chat can cause depression from loneliness, especially with those we live with that aren’t qualified to counsel someone with autism. If you or your child seek therapy or ABA therapy, then it’s best during this time to request phone or Telehealth/Zoom Video Calls. Therapists can help listen and give solutions to daily frustrations and give good mental support. There are sources and programs to help with affording groceries, paying bills, and other essential needs along with disability and child care services. You can call the number 211 and a United Way representative in your state can guide you on resources you need and also help to apply for them. Or just visit their website at 211.org on their list of available sources.

            However, I am fortunate to have an ABA therapist check up on me along with my family I see most of the time, but some people with disabilities don’t feel supported and don’t feel safe. Anger, Tension, and Domestic Violence can increase in lock down, when the victim has nowhere to call or run to.  There are hotline ­numbers that can even allow text messaging when you don’t want to be heard and feel uncomfortable speaking out. If the abuser is working an essential job or is busy, the victim can make an excuse to go for a walk and dial 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) and/or 911, you can even chat on www.thehotline.org.

            Above all else, stay healthy and safe; use a comfortable face mask (handmade or buy on amazon/etsy.com) for you and your child with sensory issues.  Also re teach them basic hygiene and hand washing. It takes some time to have patience, but assure them that they can stay safe from germs and the Coronavirus.

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