Positives from Covid

sportswoman in mask training with weights in gym

Covid has been a part of our lives for awhile now. We have all experienced changes. There have been lots of ups and downs. We have had to learn to improvise, compromise and just find different ways of doing things. There has been lots (and I mean lots) of family time. There has been stress and anxiety about many things – financial, jobs, school, mental health and just plain coping on a daily basis.

Autism does not get a vacation from any of this. It is right there in the middle along with everything else. So how do people with autism cope in such an unstable environment and when things are constantly changing?

My teens have both had their fair share of ups and downs. Our daughter who struggles with social anxiety as well as autism and some other mental health challenges, has done surprisingly well during this period of time. I think the biggest challenge for her has been not being able to be in contact with friends and spending so much time in the house. Let’s face it no matter how much you love your family, being confined with them for such a long time can take it’s toll.

For our son, its been a little complicated with school and the fact that it was constantly changing whether or not you went in person or were on-line. His days were confusing and mixed up, but overall he fared pretty well and rolled with the punches, if you will. He’s come a long way in not being so rigid and the learning continued whether or not he was at home or at school.

Covid had a negative effect socially for both of our children. No matter how many things you do on-line, there is nothing like being face-to-face with peers, teachers, and friends to keep building up relationships.

There are some positive changes though that have happened in covid that have been very revealing and habits that we will continue to embrace.

For instance, being able to sit down and eat lunch with the kids every day has truly strengthened our relationship. Being with family has made us realize what is important and the fact that we don’t need to be so busy to be happy. We can just live in the moment and enjoy silence with each other if that’s what we want to do. It’s allowed more family game time and movie time. The bonding that has happened has been so very important for our family. Just being able to shut out the outside world for awhile is very valuable for our mental health.

As things now move forward and open up, I know that our family will not only cherish but we will strive to maintain the importance of our family and continue to build on the bond we share together.

New Postitives

love your life clipboard decor

Covid has been tough on everyone and has hit some harder than others. It has forced us to make changes and do things differently. We have had to adapt to things that we don’t like and we have had to create new ways of doing things at home.

It has changed the way our children learn, the way we work and the way we do things. It has created many ups and downs and we have had to adapt to things in a whole new way.

Things are slowly getting back to some kind of normal, which is good. But what I have discovered through the past year and a half is that there have been many positive things that have come from this experience.

Sure, school has been hard. One day you go in, the next day you are at home. There are cohorts, no lockers, time changes for in person learning and learning to do school through zoom. There has been lots of pressure for both children and parents.

Honestly, I am so proud of both of our children during this time.

For children with autism, one knows that changes are difficult – any changes. This could be routine, lunch, going to school, trying to do school on a computer, getting up at different times, trying to make connections etc. You name it, it’s hard for them to adjust.

Our children are both different and unique. For our daughter, having cohorts in high school really reduced her anxiety of having to be around large crowds of people at one time so the change was really positive. Since she was doing a lot of art as she went to an art school being on-line was good at times because she could be in her own space and focus on her art rather than all of the other distractions that can arise.

For our son, getting more attention in a smaller class size allowed the teacher to get to know his strengths and how he worked. For him, trying to get to know a teacher and fellow students on a computer was rather difficult. But on the plus side, he was able to learn in a comfortable environment and I was able to see first hand where he needed help and where he was self-sufficient.

For our family, it was a lot of togetherness, which as you know, can be positive and negative but for us, I want to say that it was good. We didn’t have to rush to so many appointments as things we done on-line. We were able to spend more quality time just doing things together like eating lunch and just hanging out.

Looking back on things, for our family, I know that we are going to keep some of these positive changes and incorporate them into our lives going forward. We have realized that some of the things we did were not necessary and we want to let some of those things go and focus on what is truly important.

I’m glad things are settling down and I look forward to creating a “new normal” going forward.

Relax

unrecognizable female meditating on grass in highlands on sunny day

One thing we have learned this summer is to relax. I have come to realize how important this is for everyone in our family. It is so important to relax our minds and our bodies.

This past while there has been so much stress and uncertainty with Covid that it’s been hard to think about anything else. We were stuck in our home, all together for so long.

For our family, we are fortunate enough to have a cottage to escape to so as soon as school was over, we packed up the car and headed up. It has been such an amazing summer so far. I think the past year and a half has just taught us to appreciate the little things and to be grateful for our family and our health.

Having two teens on the spectrum, you never know what challenges you are going to face no matter what environment you are in.

I have noticed with both our of children that they just needed a quiet space to calm their minds and relax without having any deadlines or pressures on them.

For our daughter, it means that she gets time to rest, do art projects, listen to music or just relax.

For our son, it means engaging in lots of outdoor fun like swimming, boating, paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking and just siting in the sun.

To relax your mind can be lifechanging for everyone, but especially for people on the autism spectrum as they have so much going on in their minds that they normally just can’t shut anything off. It’s been nice for me as a parent just to see both of our children able to engage in things they like or just not to do anything at all.

This can be hard as we are so programmed that we have to be busy all the time otherwise we are not being productive. But what I have discovered is that by being calm and relaxed is a great way to regain mental strength and become happier people.

In our cottage environment I find that the connection with nature and the water is an absolute life-changing factor for all of us. Just being able to enjoy sitting watching boats or sunsets or looking at trees can provide such calm and peace.

How do you get your child to relax? What do you do to relax you mind?

Biomedical – the journey continues…..

faceless doctor preparing medicine in laboratory

So we have been on our journey in the biomedical world for awhile now. We have seen so many gains and so much progress over the last 3 years. We are truly amazed at some of the results that we have seen.

We are currently completing (or should I say, our son) is a three month chelation treatment course. To my pleasant surprise, it has been going pretty well. Our son sits for the IV’s and has been really quite patient and handled the treatments very well at the doctor.

The biggest issue with this treatment is not “treatment day”, but the days that follow after. The chelation itself is quite taxing on your body. For our son, it usually means weight loss, cramping and irritability at some point days after the treatment. The treatments are schedule two weeks apart to give your body time to move the metals out of your body.

In a nutshell, our son has toxic levels of certain chemicals in his body. The chelation agent will activate these damaging toxins and move them out of your body via your skin (like sweating) and out through your urine etc. Hence, the cramping and irritability and mood swings. It also explains the lack of appetite.

So we we just finished our last one and now we are ready to do the “challenge test” to see how the treatment worked. At the beginning you do a challenge test to see where the levels of toxins are such as mercury, lead etc. At the end, you do this as well to see if the levels are have been reduced (which hopefully they have in some areas).

This is just one part of the biomedical treatment but for our son an important one since many toxins were showing up on the first report that were negatively affecting his health. This affects focus and brain health as well.

So I’m looking forward to the results of this one for sure.

I’m excited at all the progress so far, but I also get frustrated sometimes at all the things our son has to do just to have optimal health.

Looking forward to what comes next for us!

Grocery Shopping!

grocery cart with item

So my son and I set off to do some grocery shopping recently. This is an activity that we enjoy doing together and honestly since covid started, it has been much more pleasant shopping in the grocery store because it is not crowded and you can move around quite easily.

This is a good life skill also for my son. He can bring the list and find the items and put them in the cart. He is always in charge of the cart and keeping up with me and moving around the store.

He is usually pretty attentive to things and is quite familiar with our grocery store.

So this particular day I was in front of our son, looking ahead at the next section we were moving to. To my surprise, I heard this lady talking to our son in a negative tone. I turned around to see what was happening and it was then I realized that he had hit her foot with the cart. I can’t remember the exact words she used, but she was very upset and basically asked what’s wrong with you (to him).

He immediately apologized but that was not enough. So I came over and also apologized. I told him that my son has autism. She then changed her tune and patted his arm (why I don’t know?) and said okay or something like that.

I was kind of taken aback. First of all, I don’t know why I told her he had autism, like if that was an excuse for him hitting her? I guess I figured she would be more understanding. I don’t know. I don’t know what my reaction should have been. Also, did this woman actually think someone would ram into her on purpose? I have hit people before with my cart when it was crowded.

This just really made me sit back and evaluate the situation. What should I have done? What should I have said? What shouldn’t I have said?

Is it okay to bring autism into it? Why do I feel like I always have to defend something that would be no big deal for a typical child. I don’t know. But this situation just made me sit back and think about these things because I don’t know what the right answer is in this situation. I just know that this is something that I need to have answers for in the future.

I would love to hear your feedback or suggestions on this matter!