4 mins read

Autism and Coronavirus

Autism and Coronavirus

I don’t have to explain too much about this title because we’re all in the same boat.

Typical and special needs together.

This virus doesn’t discriminate.

What is my situation?

My seventeen-year-old, my husband, and I are staying-at-home and socially distancing if we have to go out (for groceries, pharmacy runs, and walking).

My son’s school will begin at-home, online learning tomorrow.

They plan on bringing the kids back to the school in early May, yet that plan could change.

My husband works from home.

The business I work for is closed.

My parents are elderly and they are not going out. I bring them groceries.

We’re doing our part.

Any stumbling blocks relating to autism?

I feel we’re lucky in a lot of ways.

First, our child is older. Almost an adult. He has very few behaviors and he can communicate (and, oh boy, does he communicate).

Second, he doesn’t really have any anxiety issues. A pandemic is certainly a case for anxiety, yet my kid has accepted the stay-at-home order and pretty much has gone with the flow.

With one exception…

Which is?

Our vacation this summer.

People with autism can be obsessive. My son has had various obsessions over his lifetime—fire trucks, car, airplanes, dogs, power poles, Minecraft, Smash Ultimate…and now… Poland.

Yes, the country Poland. We have no connection to Poland, we are not Polish.

However, sometimes with obsessions…they can be literally anything.

Our vacation this summer was a dream come true for my son…we were going to Poland.

Now, that’s on hold. And, it was difficult for him to accept the hold, even though he says he understands what the world is going through at this time.

Why was it hard?

He has autism. And, it’s an obsession.

When my husband and I told him we have to postpone our June trip, he took it very hard.

He was angry and upset and even threatened to “go on my own.” We did our best to comfort him and explain that the government of our countries and other countries had put travel restrictions in place. The world was going into a lockdown. This was very serious and we have to look out for the health of our family…especially him.

He knew all of that…but then there’s that tricky autism.

It’s always there, folks.

And, it’s hard.

No, we can’t just tell him to “just accept it” or “you’re lucky you get to go at all” or “how can you be so selfish?” It’s not that easy.

Because he’s not able to easily accept something like canceling a trip that is part of an obsession, he understands he’s lucky to be able to travel like he does, and he’s not being selfish.

He has autism.

What happened?

It took him an hour to calm down. My husband and I stayed with him, supported him as best we could. We didn’t make any promises because we can’t make any promises.

Of course, at the end of March, he’s still holding out hope that we can squeeze in a Poland trip sometime this summer. He is a hopeful kind of kid.

And, yes, it will be hard (again) if we have to postpone until 2021.

But, I repeat, I think we’re lucky. We have a united front and we have a track record of being there for him during troubling times. We have come through many times in the past.

And, he knows we’re trying. He knows it’s not really us that canceled our trip.

He doesn’t fully understand an autism obsession, except for the fact that he prioritizes things. And, Poland is a huge priority, whether it’s half way around the world or not, he needs to get there someday.

And, we will get him there.

We support him and love him…and, we care about what he cares about.

If it’s Poland, then it’s Poland.

We’ll get there.


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