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.
My name is Geoffrey and I am a 29-year-old with Asperger Syndrome. I first heard about Covid19 when a Princess Cruise ship had been quarantined off Tokyo shortly after a friend and I had returned from a cruise of our own in February. My biggest enjoyments in life come from hanging out with my friends, going to the movies and spending good time with my amazing family. Now that we’ve been thrust into the first pandemic, the only movie outings I get are on Netflix, hanging out with my friends is restricted to a screen on my computer or phone, but the family is my one bond that hasn’t gone. Thank goodness for that.
I would have thought being a cashier in a grocery store would have made me essential, but I have Diabetes. My parents believed that my staying home was the best course of action. Like Morgan Freeman’s character said in the iconic film The Shawshank Redemption, “in prison, a man will do most anything to keep his mind occupied.” That brought me to think of activities and hobbies to engage in on a weekly basis. So far, I’ve been putting together weekly quizzes for my family in England to play over Zoom calls, as of June 2nd, I’m approaching eight weeks worth of Spanish lessons on an app that teaches me simple sentences on my phone. I’m thinking of learning German and French next. I want to make some progress into one of five novels I have ideas for but as a result of this pandemic or just my lack of ideas or will, I just never got back to it.
This pandemic is something that I’ve taken both in stride and with a great deal of negative energy. I’ve lived my life with the mindset that if something is out of your control, then what really is there to get upset about? Just sit back with some loved ones, have a good meal and wait for the storm to pass. It always does. But this is different. I think it’s important to recognize that it is different because for the first time in 100 years we have been hit with extraordinary circumstances. There were times when I came downstairs to my parents, looked them dead in the face and said that I was frightened. And it’s okay. This has never happened before. I believed I always knew how to process a situation no matter how huge, but this was different. In three months of containment, aside from walks around the neighborhood, I’d left my house three times. An average of once per month. It’s okay to be scared. My family got scared during their time inside and they’ve been inside for two weeks longer than I have.
I wake up every day knowing this is temporary and won’t go on forever. Things will return to normal. I can’t say when that will be, but I will return to my movie theatre, I will hug my friends again and maybe, just maybe I’ll have a 500-page book to show for it. After all, Shakespeare wrote Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth during the Black Plague. Maybe I have a shot.
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.