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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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Summer Vacation: Fun in the Sun

By Out-of-Sync Woman

Vacations are something that most people look forward to and have few problems with. However, there are many people who struggle before, during and after vacations. Vacations can be fun if you plan ahead, know yourself, and have a good attitude.

There are times before these events that I “fall apart” due to the stress and anxiety of preparing for the vacation. During a vacation, my anxiety and depression come along with me, just like my packed bags. Speaking of packed bags, planning your activities ahead of time is important, then you can make a list of what you need. Also, checking on the local weather forecast
for your vacation destination is very helpful. Packing comfortable, weather and event-appropriate clothing is ideal. Besides clothing, taking along your cell phone or tablet, fidget items, earplugs, earbuds/headphones, and/or books are all great options to help relieve anxiety and boredom.

Mental preparation is equally important. Establishing a “code word” with a trusted friend or family member is a good idea, and using it before you “hit the point of no return” as needed. Your designated trusted person should be able to help you with this. I really need help at some points during vacations and I may not be able to help myself. I have had times where I scare myself with how depressed I am during a vacation due to getting overly tired. I might need some “alone” or “down time.” It’s best not to make someone feel guilty for not always joining in the group or activity. I really try my best, and I might need a smaller gathering with someone I am close with to just relax or to talk with. I like to be included in less rushed and crowded settings. What helps me most is knowing that somebody understands me and cares about me. On the flip side, it is important to keep in mind that you may not be the only one who is struggling. Try your best to be kind, patient, and understanding with others as well.

After the vacation, I am often tired, cranky, and sometimes even sad. It took a lot of energy for me to go on vacation. It will take some time for me to get back into a routine, and I will need to “recharge my batteries.” Giving me time before asking for something taxing is helpful, and asking if I need help with anything is greatly appreciated. In summary, changes in routine are difficult for me and I need your support before, during and after a vacation. This is based on my own personal experiences, so feel free to adapt this to your own individual needs. I hope that some of these vacation tips and coping strategies will be helpful to you.