I know that in writing this week about Autistic Shutout, I have found out that I am certainly not the only one experiencing these symptoms. Also, to be included is the autistic, neurodiverse and neurotypical individuals that are suffering because of the prolonged effects of being under the siege of a pandemic. The attitudes of everyone, the universal masking, the constant reminders to do all these things, for our youth this includes the inability to socialize physically with their peers, the same can be for adults who have no other physical connection to the outside world than the bubble that they are in,
We are starting to see it in public. The way the employees are acting towards the customers that they serve. They are exhausted of not only having to stand on their feet for several hors at a time in many cases, they also have to daunt personal protective equipment such as masks and lathering their hands with countless squirts of hand sanitizer. They have to worry countlessly about coming across someone who may be infected with COVID, yet they are expected to perform the same amount and quality of work regardless of taking extra precautionary measures from customers while they are continuing to demand fast, efficient prompt service from the worker they rely on.
One must think of that employee’s situation. Do they want to be there? Is it for the money, or the need for a job to support their loved ones who may be at risk if they contract the COVID? People in general are getting restless, the more a day or week or even a month progresses in this pandemic world, they are getting continually frustrated, they want to get what they need and get on their way. Many times, they don’t care about the person serving or waiting on them and how they are doing, and likewise that feeling is mutual. They are tired too. They want to rest, but they many times can’t. They have to support their loved ones. They have no choice but to enter the territory and face the populace and take the lashes of the customers and the employers.
Now, imagine if this person serving the public is autistic or neurodiverse. They have been uprooted from their routine for months on end not only to be called back to work because oftentimes the employer has exhausted all other employees who cannot put their best foot forward together to return back and because an autistic person is often loyal, they will without question return to the workforce. It comes with its risks, without a doubt. While autistics are no less susceptible of contracting COVID as a result of customer contact. Sadly, because of exposure, individuals on the spectrum have contracted COVID and have died. Not to say, that it doesn’t run rampant on other avenues of contraction, but when the autistic individual is in constant worry of being exposed, the common answer is that they “don’t” have to work and they can stay home? My answer is this. What if you couldn’t leave your home for months on end, or when you do, you are in total fear of contracting the COVID? Going back to work at whatever freedom it may be may be your only outlet at getting socially out there that an autistic may have in being happy.
Yes, it may become too overwhelming for them to the point that they may shut down, even meltdown. A lot of that has been happening in autistics lately because we simply oftentimes cannot handle all this overload that we have to manage on our palate because of COVID. Many youth and young adults have to attend school virtually, and while that works for some, it isn’t the best for everyone and can uproot the day for the household. Virtual learning is wearing individuals out to the max. If I can speak for all autistics, I feel that most of 2020 and this been a ringer of a year, more so for me. I just want to do things that seem somewhat normal. The winter doesn’t help, but it is staying light longer each day, so maybe that light is coming to the end of the tunnel. In the end, take a break, you deserve it.