My autism and dealing with the coronavirus pandemic
Being thrown off your routine and struggling with unexpected transitions can be a challenge for anyone.
By Kerry Magro | March 17, 2020
Being thrown off your routine and struggling with unexpected transitions can be a challenge for anyone. I know it may not seem like a big deal for some but because of my autism these challenges have felt dialed up to 11.
Growing up with autism transitions were one of my true weaknesses. I didn’t say my first word till 3 but communication was never as big a challenge as transitions and sensory challenges were. For example, when I was starting Pre-K I would get to school one day and kick the door not wanting to go inside the school and then, by the time I actually got into a routine once in school, I would kick the door not wanting to leave school at the end of the day.
I’m happy to say today I’ve overcome most of my challenges and today I’m a public speaker. Most people even say ‘You have autism? You don’t look like you have autism.’ I have an invisible disability but still deal with some sensory & transition challenges. This week, I looked at my calendar for World Autism Month, traveling out of state for a majority of the month, looking forward to promoting autism acceptance, understanding & inclusion.
Then a tsunami of emails started coming in…
One by one every event for the next 3 months was postponed. World Autism Month felt cancelled to me and moved to October. My schedule (my Google spreadsheet) which I lived by was drastically changed. I started to feel overwhelmed and the other day experienced burnout as each group I work with was either calling or emailing me asking me to look at my calendar ‘ASAP’ for new dates I was available while I’m simultaneously on the phone trying to cancel every flight and hotel room I had scheduled. Then another email comes in asking if I can do a virtual presentation. Then another email comes in.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand all the postponements. We need to flatten the curve and safety takes #1 priority right now. The best thing I did for myself, when I was going through these challenges was reminding myself to breathe.
I wanted to write this all out today to let every autism family who’s struggling with these new routines right now to do the same. Most of you with children are dealing with this right now with the schools closed. I get you. I feel for you.
If this pandemic has taught us anything is that we need unity more now than ever. Let’s support one another during these times. Acknowledge how you feel to somebody close to you. The worst thing you can do is listen to sometime who says ‘deal with it.’ Your feelings are valid.
We are going to get through this together and I hope you know that.