We’ve been in this COVID state for over six months now. The over stimulated, over sensualized media reports, the big deals made out of the small things. However, many, including myself have a hard time realizing that we are not the only ones facing the daily struggles of daunting the PPE and heading out to a modified normal routine. We don’t share tables with our colleagues anymore and for some we don’t see them in months, and it’s a struggle. Then come the added protocols of exhausting cleaning and sanitization. We don’t want to do it, but in order to keep doing the things we need to stay normal we do it.
While others are experiencing other mental health symptoms because of the multitude of changes of COVID, often we think about the me, me, me of it and how it affects us, but we don’t think of the other hundreds of thousands in this country that constantly also manage to hold the glue together for themselves and sometimes the families they need to care for.
Let’s look specifically at the autism community. Those who are unable to communicate properly may not totally comprehend or signify that they are comfortable and understand why they have to wear a mask and they may due to it being overstimulating resist in wearing a mask, thus in a country where they may be required in many establishments, may have difficulty in accessing things they need. Furthermore, this may cause a hinderance in those caring for them due to the simple fact they too are struggling mentally and know it is hard for the autistic and while some things they absolutely have no control in modifying because of the nature of COVID.
Yes, everyone is struggling mentally due the affects of COVID, however when it comes to the autism community, this is magnified severely than neurotypicals and should be taken into consideration. With the mandates by government results in changes in things are conducted, with that sometimes comes the cancellation or modification of things we normally are used to, thus causing anxiety to us and making us sometimes act out. Take into consideration something routine as a visit to the doctor’s office, now with being mandated to wear a mask, this will unlikely occur and with many waivers annual physical examinations are required for services to be rendered. Furthermore, I’ve seen this being an issue when an individual becomes ill and needs to visit the office and refuses to wear a mask, they are not able to get the care they need and they are now suffering.
Now to the caretakers of autistic individuals, I cant even imaging the stress and worry you go through on a continual basis as a result of the safeguards of COVID and the need to tell or react to those you care for telling something they have do and the extra steps required to do it or the disappointing facts of something they are used to doing. Many autistics don’t like to be trapped in the four walls of their home, but because of a multitude of issues this often has resulted in the individual being home more or having their routine prior to COVID changed significantly if they go to school or programmng. They have to daunt PPE, which they oftentimes ma not be fond of, one cannot greet each other with bodily contact and the setup and modifications of many rooms are different. In schools, assemblies and field trips are cancelled and in programming activities outside of the programming community are cancelled. Community workers, therapists and the like are meeting telephonic or virtually or at a distance. All hard challenges for the autistic and their parent caretaker.
Now I want to close about thinking of those autistics in group homes as in many states visitation has been limited as a result of COVID. I as one who has been away from family several times, hear you. I know its tough and not easy seeing your loved ones. But think about you and how much you have pioneered though this, I think about those in group homes often and how they must have to live day in and day out without family or friend visits nor community activity, This, by far has to be the worst victim of COVID by far.
However, while we are in or realist mind know that we are not the only ones suffering from enhanced mental health symptoms due to the affects of prevention of COVID, we just ask that others understand where we come from that while other neurotypicals are indeed having mental health issues, out issues are mostly enhanced and are ever hard for us to manage getting by.