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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

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Asking For Help

By Sarah Matincheck

Asking for help can be a challenge for some people because you want to prove that you can do things on your own. And when you’re autistic, it’s a different story. You are faced with a lot of anxiety, stress, confusion, and other challenges in so many areas of your life. When someone offers to help you, it means that they care about you and want to be there for you. They want to ease whatever is troubling you and help you feel more relaxed. Sometimes, people feel that admitting they need help is just like admitting defeat. But I’m learning that it’s the complete opposite. The truth is, asking for help means that you are open to accepting others to be around you and that you are open to sharing and talking about whatever is on your mind.

Asking for help can open you up to more opinions from other people. It can even open your social skills and help you learn about your strengths and weaknesses. I had trouble admitting when I needed help from my parents, my teachers, and my classmates when I was in elementary school. When my grades reflected that I was having a hard time, my mom told me that the next time I have an assignment or a project to do, I should tell her and dad so that they could look it over with me.

During the fifth grade, there was a science fair and all the fifth grade participated. My subject was gravity and how fast certain objects would fall. When I told my mom about it, she said we’d “look at it tomorrow” and I got upset because I thought we would get to do some of it that night. I was confused because when my mom said she and dad would help me, I thought that meant when I was ready. But my mom explained that I have to put into consideration other’s time. I didn’t win the science fair, but I got a good grade which is what really mattered to me and I was very proud of myself. After that, I was more open about when I needed help both outside and inside of school.

More importantly, I’ve learned that when people offer you help, you can’t expect them to drop everything they are doing to come help you ASAP. You have to be considerate of what they are doing and if they have the time. I try to do things by myself at first and then decide if I need help or not. Sometimes, after I complete the task that was difficult or new to me, I’ll ask for a second opinion from others. 

It has always been important to me to show people that I can be independent. But even adults need help now and then. My mom and her friend Erica have helped me with punctuation, formatting, and grammar for writing assignments, including these blogs! Without my family to help me, my life would be very different – The help they give me has led me to more independence. My mom helps me by reading school assignments with me. She has practiced for job interviews with me and has shown me how to clean a house and bake cookies. My dad helps me manage my own bank account, has taught me how to write checks, how to do yard work, and he is teaching me how to drive.   

I hope you find this to be helpful and take it to heart.

All my best,

Sarah