Covid – 19 and What You Could Learn from the Autistic Community

In the training I deliver, I try to get across the lived experience of autistic people. I’m not about raising awareness or acceptance of autism. I’m all about developing an understanding of autistic people.

     Amid all the talk and fear surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, what can you learn from the autistic community at a time like this? Could I, as an autistic person, be at far lower risk than most others?     

My immune system might be pretty much on par with anyone else’s so where do I and other like me gain ground? I’ll give you a few things to think about.

From an autistic perspective:

  • We tend to dislike social stuff and crowds. This brings us into less contact with other people. Yes, it can be lonely but the fewer people we meet, the less likely we are to catch bugs.
  • We might not be touchy-feely and would keep a physical distance between ourselves and the people we do meet.
  • We tend to follow rules so if the directive is to wash hands for 20 seconds, then that’s what we’ll do.
  • Staying in and isolation is often pretty much second nature so we’re unlikely to suffer as much as overtly social people.
  • We’re often used to having social contacts via social media so the transition just isn’t there as it is for many.
  • Working from home could be a godsend and a relief from trying to fit into an office environment.
  • We get carte blanche to indulge in our hobbies and special interests. I’ve heard a lot of comment on the radio from listeners saying they’re going to crack on with the garden or the decorating. Stuff you can’t do over a pub lunch.

And Finally

All in all, being based from the home environment is the chance for the wider community to see and appreciate what life is generally like from a different perspective.  It’s hard not to talk from a generalistic perspective because we’re all different and some of us will be distressed beyond belief if our limited avenues for meeting and mixing are temporarily suspended. It isn’t the end of the world.

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photo courtesy of Pixabay

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