Life After Quarantine: Thoughts from an Autism Parent
Posted on 07/20/20 in COVID-19 by Estee Ezinski
Our home is our sacred safe space; for me it’s being able to throw on comfy clothes and throwing my hair in a messy bun and for Dominic it’s being able to let his guard down and just be himself. It took years for us to learn that this is why most behaviors occur at home, now that we understand why it happens we realize that he needs it just as much if not more so than I need sweatpants and tee shirts.
When we learned that the stay at home order was taking effect, we bought a reasonable amount of toilet paper and knew that we would make the most of it. Now that the order has been lifted, I am starting to think that maybe it was too enjoyable. While our family struggled in the beginning it quickly became our new normal, sure I struggled being a mom, chef, teacher and applying any type of tools that we’ve been taught over the years from different therapies but I didn’t prepare myself for what it looked like when we reentered the world.
While being at home there was a significant decrease in unideal behaviors, less meltdowns, less stomach aches, less aggressive behaviors. Of course, I made the connection that it’s because we were at home and there were less triggers for him but I didn’t think of what it would be like for him once he had to leave his bubble. I so easily grab my keys and face mask and walk out the door; I take for granted that I can adjust to different personalities, different tones of voice, different lights and sounds and different expectations. I was not surprised that when we ventured out Dominic’s anxiety showed its ugly face.
The reality is that I cannot always prevent, but I can prepare him to the best of my ability. Right now, for us that means taking a few steps backwards and going back to the basics. That may mean social stories, arriving places early and limiting the amount of time we spend there along with a lot of positive reassurance as well as patience.
I wish the entire world was as compassionate as parents who have children with autism and I wish that I could keep him in our safe bubble his entire life, but I have to remind myself that the end goal is still the same: to give him the tools and love to live a happy fulfilling life, we are choosing to see this as an opportunity to have a refresher on those tools.
ABOUT THE WRITER
As Milestones Helpdesk Coordinator, Estee Ezinski supports individuals and families in finding resources in their communities. Estee has a professional background in pediatric patient care and is a mother to a child with autism. As a mom, she is dedicated to serving families while being able to utilizes her own child’s and family’s experiences to help guide other families. Estee is an active PTA member currently serving as PTA President in her district while sharing her passion for advocating for the autism community.