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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide

ASERT has compiled resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

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Focusing on the Present

By Out-of-Sync Woman
Recently I went on a slow walk with my family. Usually, I’m in such a hurry to move on to the next thing on my agenda that I miss seeing the colors, textures, and shapes of both the leaves and the trees. It dawned on me partway through the walk there was nothing I had to do that couldn’t wait until later. Even though I knew I had all the time in the world to just be with my family, it was hard to slow myself down.
This walk gave everyone the opportunity to talk to each other and enjoy each other’s company. I got to talk to my sister about my life and I also talked to my nieces. My nieces had grown up so much. It was a great pleasure to interact with them. My Dad got the opportunity to talk to and interact with my sister and nieces too. It had been many months since we saw each other in person.
Don’t get me wrong, I found myself walking ahead and then waiting for my Dad due to his slow walking pace. We all took turns walking with my Dad so he wouldn’t be left behind. During that walk it hit me how much my Dad was slowing down and how rapidly he is aging; it’s scary since I don’t feel like he is that old.
It’s hard to accept and understand that my Dad is getting old. This knowledge makes me grateful that I’m living on my own and I’m not depending on my Dad. I’m the closest one of my siblings and I feel like I’m the only person who gets that our Dad is slowly declining and will need more support soon. I feel like the only way my siblings will understand this is if something bad happens to our Dad. I tried many times in the past to ask my Dad what he wants but he hasn’t had an answer for me. I don’t think he wants to acknowledge the fact that he’s getting older. This makes me sad since it’s a fundamental fact that we all get older.
In some ways having autism has forced me to acknowledge all the ways I’m interdependent with other people. I feel like I see things more clearly or at least I understand that everyone needs help from time to time. I truly feel that there’s no shame in planning ahead for needing more support in the future. Trying to figure out things ahead of time is okay but I can’t let it spoil my enjoyment of the moment for the time being. I need to find a balance between enjoying the present and thinking about the future. I’m trying to worry less and find more joy right here, right now because the future will come soon enough…