Meet Jack Baranoff
Though these are challenging times for our community and so many others, we continue to share authentic stories of autistic Canadians and their families. We hope these will offer a look into the many diverse perspectives in our community and provide inspiring and uplifting stories when we need it most.
Meet Jack Baranoff, proud autistic Canadian and a high school advocate with interest in politics and communications, shares his thoughts on life during Coronavirus and how we are all in this together. Jack and his brother, Quinn (as seen in the picture) both have autism.
In every generation, there is always one major world event that shapes the youth. For the Baby Boomers, it was when Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon which amazed millions. For Generation X, the Fall of the Berlin Wall unified previous foes. For Millennials, 9-11 horrified people from all walks of life, but it also brought them together. For my generation, COVID-19 is that event. I cannot speak for my peers, but I can speak of my experiences during this pandemic. Before this virus, my schedule was simple, I went to school for six to seven hours, did some homework and went to bed. Occasionally, I would have an outing with my friends during the weekend. When the virus was first ravaging other countries, but not Canada, I undoubtedly sent my thoughts and prayers to the victims of the coronavirus, but I was also not overly worried as I assumed that the peak of COVID-19 would soon be over. Little did I realize that it would soon ravage my home and native land. When there were around one-hundred cases in Canada in mid-March, Francois Legault, the Premier of Quebec announced that he would close all schools for two weeks. This was new to me, but my daily schedule was not much different than that of a Sunday. I completed my assignments that were due after schools were initially to be re-opened and binge-watched some television shows. What truly changed my daily life was when the Quebec Premier announced that schools were not to be re-opened until early May, final exams were cancelled and public gatherings were banned. Was I confused and frustrated at first that my schedule was to change drastically, of course. However, I also understood that these measures were necessary to limit the spread of this virus as much as possible.
Rather than complaining, I chose to do activities that I previously did not have the time to do before. For example, my family and I go on two walks around the neighbourhood on a daily basis and I go on a run as much as possible. Also, all of our family meals are now homecooked and we have tried to have more high-protein based meals such as poultry and salmon to improve our health. When it comes to schoolwork, it has been a different story as I only receive a small weekly assignment from some teachers, which are currently optional. I complete all of them as I know I should keep my brain sharp and, if I ignore them, my parents will kill me. For my brother, adjusting to a new schedule has been more difficult as he misses the routine of going to his school. It is saddening to see my brother so distressed, especially since he does not understand what is happening around him and why he is experiencing such a change to his routine.
Despite all of this, I still have high hopes for the future as we luckily have very competent healthcare workers who are helping us through this crisis. For those who are currently reading this, take the opportunity to improve on yourself, whether it is your health or a particular skill, as you now have more time do so. COVID-19 will define my generation, let’s just hope that we will rise together to fight the coronavirus and end up more unified rather than divided.
Disclaimer: Information provided is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks Canada does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks Canada provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks Canada has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties.