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 Olivier St-Amour and I am 13 years old. I was diagnosed with Asperger and learned I was on the autism spectrum just over a year ago. I struggle with social interactions in large groups and really like my routines. I have been in confinement for over two months now. There is nothing good about the confinement for me; it is stressful and causes anxiety. I manage to have fun and play virtually with my friends, but I would prefer to get back to how things used to be.
I am coping by going metal detecting in the forest. I received the metal detector for Christmas, and it has been fun to have time to play with it and dig up some treasures. So far, I have found 56 old rusty nails, an old piece of a motor of a tractor, a crowbar and some old toys. It has been some of the most enjoyable time of the past two months. I am also discovering some new TV shows with my older sister. We are learning to discover new favorite TV shows. This routine has brought us closer together.
My dog Gizmo has been a source of companionship during this period of isolation. He is always ready to play and is full of energy. After a difficult morning of distance learning for my secondary one classes, it is fun to play hide and seek with him or get some fresh air. He helps decrease my anxiety and press the reset button. I am also working on some art projects which also helps to decrease my anxiety.
My hopes for the future are that everyone stays healthy and those who are ill recover. One day I hope we can get back to a more normal life with family and group activities. I also hope a world with travel will return, as I love to discover new places. If we can travel soon, I would love to go camping in an RV and visit Yellowstone National Park.
Until the borders open again and we can safely travel, I will snuggle my dog, be grateful for what I do have, instead of focusing on what I no longer have. All we can do is take one day at time; in our house we wake up and say Groundhog Day.
Olivier St-Amour and Gizmo, National ambassadors for the Virtual Dog Walk.
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