Covid-19 and Autisim

Well… it happened… Gavin tested positive for Covid on Friday. No matter how hard we tried and all we did to keep him safe…

It. Happened.

What most don’t understand about an Autistic person is that change or lack of structure can set them back and cause regression. The regression that happens is unable to be measured by even the brightest Doctors in the field. These past few years have hurt Gavin in ways that we can’t even grasp. When we had to quarantine as a nation it was the beginning of a very dark time for him. Yes, it was a dark time for all of us as time stopped! Gavin regressed… most kids his age can maintain the knowledge previously learned and if they are lucky they have parents available to teach them new things that normally there wouldn’t be time for. Gavin’s growth stopped and he became very angry. Did his ability to learn stop? No… but his behaviors get in the way of allowing him to learn new things and show us how much he truly understands.

Gavin is a lover and he loves his teachers and anyone that is sharing time with him. When we had remote learning that made things even worse. My theory is this; Gavin grew angry with his teachers and therapists. Seeing them on a computer screen meant that he could not touch them, have them hug and squeeze him and he couldn’t kiss them! Gavin is a lady’s man as I often say. I always joke that he takes after his Papa as we always said that my Dad was a flirt. My Dad never had to do or say much with the ladies and they would always swoon over him. A smile and a glimpse of my Dad’s biceps, back in the day, made the women flock to him. (Or so it seemed when I was growing up). Mom got used to it and I’m sure it bothered her but she handled it fairly well. So with that said; Gavin couldn’t be with his ladies and I truly believe that Gavin was angry with his teachers as I believe he felt deserted. He didn’t engage in “Zoom School” (as we called it) and he didn’t move forward with his growth with his behaviors. Gavin is brilliant but it is hard to know what he knows as he doesn’t speak. Gavin is such a busy boy keeping him in one place to find out what he understands is hard to quantify.

When going back to preschool I recall it took quite a few months for his teacher to reach out to us letting us know that he was back to where he was when the world stopped. That was heartbreaking to us. Remember when you have a kid like Gavin and you are proactive and get him services starting at 15 months of age you feel rather defeated when it all comes to a screeching halt.

When Gavin’s classmates come in contact with someone with Covid and his classroom closes for 10-14 days our hearts break as yet again Gavin will regress. Sometimes we get lucky and he doesn’t skip a beat it all depends on what supports we have at home for him and how engaged we are as well as his caregivers. Trying to get life in place when these things happen has fallen on my shoulders and that is so hard on me. Gavin continues to require eyes on him at all times. Gavin can not be left alone. This means I can’t put on a TV show and go into a Zoom meeting. I can’t take the garbage out to the curb without worrying that he is doing something that he shouldn’t. David spends at least 1 week a month fixing or creating something to keep Gavin contained and safe.

With Gavin contracting Covid this past week it begins another heartbreaking process for us. He will be out of school for 10 days starting today which means that he will not go back to school until Friday, but more than likely the following Monday. David and I work full-time. We pray that his sisters or Caregivers are available to step in and help us to support him with his learning and more importantly keeping him safe.

Luckily Gavin had a fairly easy case of Covid and he is back to himself in just over 24 hours. He has a cough still and seems to be a little off but overall he is doing well. I pray that he stays safe and we don’t have to go through this again. The scary part of a non-verbal little boy with Covid is that he can’t communicate to us what hurts him. Even on a good day if he has an upset tummy he won’t usually show us where it hurts he will just act out and we can only guess what is affecting him and his behaviors.

Gavin is 1 shot into his series and he has a few weeks before his 2nd vaccine. Again something we weren’t excited about doing but David and I made this decision based on many discussions with some very important people we trust. I respect everyone’s decision to do what they feel is the right choice for them and their families and we only ask that you respect our choices. At the end of the day, there is no one standing before us that can tell us with 100% certainty what the future holds, for now, we do what makes the best sense for us as a family and as primary caregivers for Gavin.

Stay safe out there everyone! Respect others and put yourself in their shoes. Ask questions of others and treat others as you would like to be treated.

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