Lessons from COVID
From my previous posts and blogs, many of you will be aware that (LACAN) Lennox & Addington County Autism Network has a special interest in caring for people with (ASD) Autism Spectrum Disorder and related diagnosis. We provide specific support to our community and offer programs free of charge to families whom need it. This priority was encouraged by my experiences navigating the OAP Ontario Autism Program a few short years ago. It began our affiliation with the Autism community in Kingston, L&A County, Belleville and Quinte West and we have been expanding our efforts in autism care ever since.
While there is no cure for ASD, there is support and awareness. Support has, and, continues to be, the central pillar of our organization. Today with 1:55 diagnosed with ASD, our vision is to change the face of Autism.
Reflecting on a recent meeting of care for my son, affected with autism, it occurred to me that there are many parallels to COVID-19. Both strike people of all walks of life; both are disorienting and isolating and both are incredibly difficult on individuals and family units.
The COVID pandemic provided all of us with a sense of the confusion and isolation that ASD families experience regularly. But this never ends for many who live with autism. Whether it is isolation due to the mental limitations of ASD, sensory processing disorders, or quarantine for COVID, the risks often places people living with autism apart from the people they love and cherish.
COVID has highlighted the work of home-care workers and family caregivers. Previously invisible to the care ecosystem, they have received a big lift in public respect and admiration as the warriors in this battle for support.
Home has now been firmly established as a safe place to care for someone guarding against COVID and for someone living with ASD. And now, as we have all learned to stay connected using technology so too must we enhance social connections with loved ones and health-care professionals using tools like virtual support groups and zoom conferences.
We must stand united in our support of families, caregivers and home-care workers who are the backbone of our support system. I believe we must never shut families out of the care process. Perhaps this will help to lessen the pain of the far too many grieving family caregivers as a result of the regression COVID-19 has caused individuals and families affected by autism.