Does the isolation and lack of things to do during the pandemic feed right into your kid's preferred way of being ? (alone. inactive , no demands) Do you sit in silence at the dinner table, because your companion doesn't do small talk? Are you amazed, three hours later, when you hear him carrying on a long, animated conversation... with a TV show he's seen 25 times before?!
Then you might be an 'autism parent', like me. And if you are, I hope you are connected to AutismUp, like me. Because at AutismUp I am part of a community of families, like mine, who understand similar challenges, willingly share ideas for solutions to unusual problems, and accept your whole family, each person for who they are.
AutismUp has been a second family for us for over 15 years now. So many staff and other families know us, notice when we come and go, recognize our idiosyncracies and limitations, appreciate our strengths.
We have been among the very lucky - our biological family has been extremely accepting and supportive of our lives with autism, and we - separately and together - have incredible friends who love us and would/will do anything in their power for us.
Still, it's priceless to be connected with people who have similar experiences. For the social, cooking, fitness (and more!) programs that cater to people with autism - who may be old enough to not want to listen to mom . Or may just need somewhere to go, something to belong to, somewhere to make friends. For the parent training and support that is needed whether your kids are 3 or 13 or 33. For the community that is and will be "there" for us - to hang out (even if silently!), to share scenes from Star Wars ad infinitum, to build skills, to commiserate, to truly understand.
AutismUp is that community for us. It is people, and classes, and time - and it takes money to create and run.
Do you worry that your adult child cannot make change or figure out when to leave the house for a 7pm movie? Are you afraid to sleep because your autistic child is an escape artist and does not recognize the danger of leaving the house alone? Do you know you're going to have to help your 22 yr old figure out what he wants to do- and is able to do- for his first job (ever)? Do you worry that he's lost all the skills he had gained in social interaction and work pace, because he's been at home, unengaged for 3.5 months? Do you plan your retirement and passing knowing you have to create mechanisms to take care of your adult child throughout your life, and after you are gone?
'Autism parents' do. AutismUp helps people with autism, and their families, by expanding opportunties to improve quality of life. Please help AutismUp do this important work, by donating today.