For those with autism, this lockdown comes as a double dilemma of physical health insecurity and mental health challenge.
Actress Kacey Ainsworth, who is also an autism advocate, shares:
Just like everyone else I am trying to keep positive in these vastly changing times. As we all know, change is not generally a good word in the autism community – Changes in routine, daily set up, food, can be met with opposition and difficulty.
If you can’t get that particular brand of chocolate bar or bread or hummus then you can be met with refusal to eat and feel like you’ve gone back to having a toddler in the house among other dramas.
Through working with Anna Kennedy’s charity I learned to have a different point of view. Instead of focusing on what autism meant my son can’t do, I began to focus on that little slice in the Venn diagram of ‘problems associated with autism’ marked positives.
Being involved in Anna’s charity work has meant I have been lucky enough to meet so many individuals and families who have taken the positive slice of the pie and made it considerably bigger.
With this in mind, as we continue to deal with such a considerable changes in daily life, I look at my own personal set of lockdown positives and what it means for us. By always seeking a positive side (not always achieving it, you do win some, you lose lots) But just the action of seeking the positive means I can see how Lockdown actually suits my son somewhat.
Lockdown positives for us:
- He can spend his days being himself, by that I mean he doesn’t have to conform to the social norms expected of him at school everyday.
- He is more relaxed and less combative.
- He has written his own timetable, less focussed on exact time, no bell or whistles to shove him along.
- He doesn’t have to organise himself so precisely for school, which creates considerable daily anxiety for him, everything takes place at home, everything is here already.
- There is no moving from class to class, no noise, no overstimulation.
- He can play online with his friends and he doesn’t have to deal with having people in his space or in his face, yet he can still play communicate mostly shout.
- He lives in the present, he is not fixated on what will happen in the future only what will happen today because, for him, today is all that matters.
- He is a prolific hugger and as we are around all together, all the time so he gets to do that with us anytime. A double win for me.
With millions of people practising self-isolation and social distancing, to fight the spread of COVID-19, the need for positivity becomes even more critical.