This past Friday, I learned that a good friend of mine tested positive for the Corona Virus and was put in the hospital. Yesterday, I learned he is not doing well, and his prognosis is not looking good…
As I worried about my friend, I also worried about how the horrors of Covid-19 are impacting individuals with autism. What happens when my autistic son has a friend of his hospitalized or dies from the virus? Or what happens if my autistic son gets the virus despite following CDC measures to protect himself? What happens if my wife or I get the virus? How would I be able to help my son?
Being a parent always has its challenges but being a parent right now has increased those challenges.
My son and I are big NASCAR fans and usually right around this time, he and I would find a NASCAR race
to go to; oh, how we enjoyed those times.
Today, we can’t experience that. My son loves to travel to visit his soon to be two-year-old nephew, but can’t because he lives in a state in which if he travels from that state, he would be required to self- quarantine for fourteen days prior to his holding his nephew.
How do I as a dad tell him (as well as my other three children who aren’t autistic), the challenges we now all face and that they each need to be safe and responsible now more than ever?
Responding to danger
My wife and I always taught our four children to understand danger. Twenty-two years ago, when my son was diagnosed with ASD, we didn’t have to teach him about the danger of living during a pandemic. Rather, we taught all of our children that they can control danger. We did this by by teaching them to swim, looking both ways when they cross a street and to always wear a seat belt when in a car.
Today, even as our four children are now adults, we have to make sure they know the dangers of getting the virus. I’m worried that as my son seeks to protect himself from the dangers of contracting the virus, he is also giving up socializing with others (beyond a zoom or Facebook call), adjusting his routine, his work schedule is being impacted and making him more and more isolated than ever before.
Adjusting to our surroundings
He knows he has to do without a lot of social contact to protect himself. But what happens when the pandemic ends? Will he have adjusted to a life where he is able to avoid social interactions, or will he be desperate for in-person social interaction again? Is he going to have to adjust to communicating with his brother and sisters and my wife and me again by going to family functions or will he want to be at those functions via a zoom call? Will he and I still be afraid to go to a NASCAR event where 75,000 people or more sit together? I don’t know.
Fortunately, myHana will help both my son and me with answering a lot of questions we both have. It is a source of relevant information. It is a source of helpful advice to make me a better parent and a source of information that my son can use to best understand the changing world we are now living in.