A pandemic the size of the one we are living through is always going to be a stressful time for anyone – the entire world has gone through radical changes in less than half a year. We also don’t know when things will be back to normal, and rushing them is likely to make things worse. This is a tough time for anyone, but if you’re autistic it can be all the more difficult to deal with – and there is precious little in the way of past experience to offer enlightenment.
If you, or someone you know, is towards the more advanced end of the autism spectrum, it can help to have some options and some understanding of what the crisis means. Below, we’ll look at how this pandemic is affecting people with the condition, and how some are dealing with it.
Routines are harder to maintain
One of the most recognizable aspects of autism spectrum disorders is the part that routine plays for affected people. If a routine is disrupted, this can be hugely stressful and triggering; during this pandemic, there has been a lot of disruption, so it’s understandably harder for people on the spectrum. It might be wise to seek to rewire that need for routine; if you would usually have a therapy appointment that you attend in person, seek to have it over Skype instead. This way, the time in the schedule is not lost, and the experience is somewhat replicated. It may not fully alleviate the stress, but it means some normality is retained.
Everyone is finding this tough; don’t feel like you’re failing
Many people with autism are perfectly aware that they are non-typical, and are liable to feel frustrated by their challenges in dealing with situations. During this crisis, it is essential to remember that it’s normal to feel stressed out by the situation; everyone is struggling. Relaxation is essential, and repetitive activities can help in this regard. If you’re one of the growing number of people using medical marijuana to ease autism’s stresses, read up on how to clean your glass pipe or bong and make that a relaxation activity. It all helps.
There is no “right way” to deal with the crisis
One of the difficult aspects of autism is that it tends to drive a strong determination to do things the “right way”. This is brutally difficult at the present time, because often the rules seem to change by the day, and some people simply ignore the rules even when they know them. While people with autism will feel annoyed and regretful over any “mistakes” they make, it is important to know that living by the rules 24/7 is almost impossible right now. So, if you do slip, it is vital to reassure yourself with the knowledge that by trying at all, you’re doing more than a lot of people.
These are tough times for so many reasons, some of them unconnected to the virus. We have to believe they will get better. For anyone dealing with this crisis alongside autism, bearing all of the above in mind will help.