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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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The Virtual World and Family

By Dmitri 

Hello again dear readers, 

At the time of writing it’s been almost 7 months since the world shut down. Besides doctors visits, dropping my partner off at work, and occasionally meeting up with a friend at a Korean supermarket halfway between our homes, I’ve been keeping a pretty low profile. Yet considering all that, I’ve probably been seeing members of my family more in these past 7 months than I had before quarantine started. 

Before quarantine, I was your average college freshman: I called my mom maybe once a month (more like she called me), I saw my grandma quarterly at best, and the rest of my family were strangers. It was the same with my partner who besides a weekly call with his 8-year-old brother (they play Minecraft together on Wednesdays it’s pretty cute), didn’t talk with his family much either. 

Then March 19th happened and things quickly changed. It started out with my Mom, because it seemed like in that one day my entire world collapsed, and I was glad I was able to turn to her for support. In those first few weeks of quarantine, I probably called my mom daily at least. We let each other know about the little things going on in our lives. She took up baking and the power of facetime allowed me to see her make croissants and sourdough loaves. Also, there was a lot of facetiming with her cats (which I’ll never complain about). I don’t call her that often anymore but once a week is still much better than it was before. 

About a month into quarantine my partner’s dad’s side started doing a Sunday night zoom call. Both my partner and I were pretty excited about this because it included some of his extended family, great uncles, and cousins who are some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. We’ve been doing these weekly calls since then! It’s somewhat chaotic between people talking over each other, people having bad connections, and some of the older family members having a hard time with the technology. But luckily my partner’s dad is tech-savvy and at 7 o’clock on Sunday nights I get to feel like a part of the family. 

Of course, it hasn’t been completely virtual though, I’ve visited my grammy in person a handful of times since quarantine started. We sit in her backyard, 6 feet apart, and wearing masks. We usually trade baked goods and let each other know how we’re doing. And then there was my partner and I’s attempt to meet up with our families in MI, but if you’ve been keeping up with my posts you know that didn’t go as smoothly as planned. All in all, I’m grateful that we have the technology we have to be connected, quarantine has only highlighted that gratefulness. 

I’m glad I’m finally talking to my mom more. After living with just her for 5 years or so I was glad to get out, create my own life. And while it’s good that I did that, that doesn’t mean I need to cut all ties with her. In a way, our relationship has grown a lot stronger since quarantine started. I’ve been more willing to speak my mind and talk with her as more of an equal, even if that leads to some conflict. The virtual connections we’ve made over these last 7 months have been really nice. I hope other people out there have had the same opportunity, because now more than ever we need to support one another, and luckily we have the virtual world to help us do just that. 

Till next time readers, 

~Dmitri


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