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.
My Dad’s birthday is coming up in a few days and it’s a milestone birthday. One of my siblings and their family have been talking about driving to see our parents to celebrate his birthday. Any other year, this wouldn’t be a big issue. However, this is different due to COVID-19. My parents have several risk factors that potentially increase their susceptibility to the virus and repercussions that could follow. I have felt torn since I want to celebrate our Dad’s birthday with my sibling and their family. However, I also understand there is a fairly big risk in this possible shared celebration. I mentioned this to my father when I talked to him. He politely listened to me and said he would talk to my sibling about the risks and maybe suggest a visit on another date.
Did I do the right thing? I don’t know. Will there be possible consequences like bad feelings from my sibling regarding discouraging our dad from having them over? Again, I don’t know. Family has always been complex for me and it’s confusing to navigate personalities, feelings, and intentions. As an adult, I have the ability to communicate my thoughts and opinions even if other family members disagree with me.
There would be repercussions either way, regardless if I spoke up or kept silent. The biggest question is do I feel okay about advocating against having my sibling and their family come to visit? Yes, I don’t think the risk of them visiting is worth it. I’m okay about speaking up and saying what I thought needed to be said. Now it’s up to my parents and my adult sibling to talk and decide what to do next.
Now comes the hard part, waiting to see what they decide and holding my tongue about what I think. We are all adults and can make our own decisions but part of being a grown-up is respecting other people’s decisions and reasons for their decisions. Do I sometimes wish I could tell my parents what to do? Yes, and I think that’s an understandable wish. However, if I want my parents to respect my decisions than I need to give them the same courtesy regarding their conclusions.
No matter what my parents or my sibling decide, I’m glad I spoke up about my feelings and concerns. Was it easy to do? No way! Do I still feel uncertain and anxious? I sure do! Do I need to work on my communication skills? Yes, of course. Will it get easier? I don’t know about that but I do know that there will always be times in the future where I need to speak up, I’m counting on that.