Lessons from lockdown #2
Updated: Jun 28
People with autism like routine. To some extent we all do. Daily life can be quite unpredictable and this can bring huge anxiety. Many people with autism try to reduce their anxiety and may go to great lengths to develop routines to maintain some degree of predictability in their lives. Covid-19 has raised the anxiety stakes to unprecedented levels and the numbers of people in the general population suffering from anxiety as a result of disruption to their daily life has soared.
Uncertainty has replaced everything that we took for granted. Our daily life has changed beyond recognition and we are having to adapt to a 'new normal' at breakneck speed. In the last few months people have had to change the way they work or have been furloughed and left wondering whether they will have a job to return to when things return to normality. With this comes all sorts of other pressures, financial, emotional and logistical.
Finding a way through the uncertainty needs to be person-centred. What works for one person may not work for another and so working through the current problems arising from Covid-19 should be based on personal choice. We have already seen parents being encouraged to send their children back to school. For some people it is a simple decision. Their children are healthy, their family has no vulnerable people who would be put at greater risk and they trust the school and staff to have measures in place which means risk is low. But for the family next door, for example, their assessment of risk may be completely different. They may have someone in the family who is shielding and suddenly the chance of exposure to the virus is heightened. Based on this they may make the decision not to send their child back to school.
Neither decision is wrong. Both are based on personal circumstances and evaluating the best outcomes for that person or family based on strengths or gains versus weaknesses or disbenefits. In general, most decisions will be based on what suits the majority of people. The biggest problem for people with autism is that they often don't fit into the majority. But to manage autism effectively, the individual needs to have self awareness and know their limitations. They also need to feel empowered to make the most of their strengths. When balance is achieved people with autism have the best chances to make the most of their potential and to achieve success and happiness.
Taking a step back from the hustle and bustle of life gives people the ideal opportunity to discover what their strengths and weaknesses are and how best to live their life. Change won't happen overnight but it may be the first small step to big changes. To find out how to make that first step contact email@example.com.