Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, some families may have been hit harder than others. Families that have elderly people and people at risk are struggling even more now than ever. If not living under the same roof, family members are encouraged not to visit with each other. The stay-at-home advisory can be a real hardship for those who want to see their loved ones in person. Some families have children with Autism. These families in particular are lacking the support that they once got before the pandemic.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The autistic community needs a lot of help. They can’t control a lot of what they do and it can be hard for them to take care of themselves. According to autismspeaks.org, two-thirds of children with autism have been bullied between ages six and 15 and one-third of the community has epilepsy, a seizure disorder.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) affects 1 in 68 children and is five times as likely to occur in boys than girls. ASD can also cost a family about $60,000 per year. Even though ASD is not necessarily prominent in today’s news, it is certainly not insignificant. These people are very dependent and sometimes do not get the attention they need. They sometimes need to be able to go to school or the local recreation center to get the help they need, which could be an issue for them during the pandemic. Not only is it important to know what goes on in the world of ASD, but it is also vital to the community that volunteers are readily available for them.
So How Can One Help People With ASD and Their Families?
There are many cases of advocacy that come from Autism Speaks, an organization looking to support people with Autism. One such case comes from Autism Speaks, stating that families that have children with ASD are being denied behavioral services that are vital for their kids’ growth. Another case, shown here, talks about the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) possibly making a change that could violate the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The change could make it so ODE would not need parental consent to place a child at a school. Families with children with ASD would be highly against this because it can make it so the child does not have the support they need to grow and be safe in the school environment. This is why it is important to advocate for people with ASD because they could have a lot of their needs limited.
Another way to get involved is by doing volunteer work, whether it is physically helping people with ASD or fundraising for them. One organization looking to help their volunteers is The Autism Project (TAP). This is an organization looking for volunteers and interns to help the autistic community, as well as helping people understand what working in special education and physical therapy could be like. Another way to help is through fundraising for Autism Speaks. Gilmour conducts their “Skate for a Solution” and “Swing for a Solution” fundraisers, and students can also participate in fundraiser walks and service projects through Autism Speaks.
Why Should Everyone Care?
People with ASD need extra support that we might not need. Sometimes they don’t know how to deal with their emotions, which can lead to them getting bullied. This may also affect all members of their family as a result. You may not necessarily know what happens at a peer’s house which makes them stressed. When we get back into a normal routine, try to treat all of your peers with respect and compassion. Say hi to someone you might not know. Invite them to eat lunch with you. Simple kindness can make someone’s day more enjoyable and less stressful. You never really know all of what someone may need, so be as kind as you can to everyone. You will make such a difference.