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Living the Puzzle: COVID-19 Edition

By Ellen Dampf
March 20, 2020
I’ll Take the Corona…..You Can Keep the Virus

Wine, chocolate, junk food, yoga, running, meditation; whatever you need to de-stress….it’ll become your best friend if it isn’t already. As an Autism mom, I can easily handle a snow day. Maybe even two in a row. I’m not a rookie.  No problem. I get through the day and then reach for the chocolate (which happens to be my poison of choice).

Don’t misunderstand, having a child on the spectrum isn’t always chaos.  But during the good, stable times, it is still time-consuming and exhausting, nonetheless. Prompts, redirection, help with homework and don’t forget it takes so much longer to complete daily tasks and life skills because I include him and teach him every day.  This is our norm and I love it.  I love watching him beam with pride because he remembered to put everything in the mac and cheese. But after working all day, yes, it can be a lot. 

So, throw a pandemic at us, why don’t you? At least with vacations, etc. we know the return date.  Let’s face it, no one has a clue. When we know what to expect, we have time to adjust the routine. Right now, we are told April 7, but other cities are closed until May.  Listening to the news last night, some mayors wouldn’t be surprised if schools didn’t re-open at all and finished out the year with distance learning.  Oh, that’ll be fun. 

Routines are Helpful

We survived day one of no school unscathed.  I did let him sleep in (He is 15. Teens sleep). I’m trying to keep his day closely aligned with a school day or week. He got dressed and ate breakfast right away, like normal.  Let’s face it. If I tell him to sit and do work when he doesn’t have to….not happening. 

Thankfully, my son is very inquisitive. Always has questions to things I have no clue about.  He watched Animal Planet and there was a show about a St. Bernard.  I told him to google St. Bernard and find out more about this breed.  He did.  Well, now I’m onto something.  Next up, the History Channel.  Then, Google.  Phew.  He hasn’t caught on yet that I’m trying to keep him in a school routine, keep him off of electronics, etc.  I’ll add in projects and crafts and practicing soccer skills outside as time goes on.  In his class, they earn points through the week to watch a movie on Friday afternoons. So, we implemented that system at home, too.

Stay Strong, Parents

There’s nothing we can do and this is out of our control.  Cancelling school was absolutely in the best interest of the public.  We are the parents, we know our children.  We are their comfort, their support, their safety.  We’ve handled transitions before….granted, not for this long. Chocolate, please….STAT!

Stay tuned for scenes from the next episode……

Read more of Ellen's Living the Puzzle Blogs: Back to School and Autism Awareness from a Parent's Perspective. You can learn more about the Autism Spectrum here.

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