Just released! A wonderful book born from post-pandemic trepidation.
During lockdown, it became apparent from conversations, news, and media that likely everyone was struggling with the stress of life and freedoms being snatched away. The unpredictability and uncertainty of the future weighed heavily, and it lasted far longer than any of us imagined possible. This brought about new normals, which led to the next level of stress: How would we emerge and reintegrate into life outside of our homes?
For autistic people (and their families), the stresses of lockdown were compounded. So much of their schooling incorporates accommodations and supports that cannot be duplicated via remote means. In addition, besides cognitive learning, much of their education in brick-and-mortar schools focuses on improving socialization and communication, two aspects which must be honed in autism. These obviously cannot be effectively achieved when one is in isolation. Lockdown caused stagnation of progress in many cases, and regression in others.
So, moving back to in-school learning and in-building work environments—while cause for celebration—was also cause for more anxiety in many individuals. Besides concerns about reacclimating and rebuilding sensory tolerance, skills, stamina, and appropriate behaviors, there were also the ever-present concerns about increased exposure to contracting COVID-19.
Loss of jobs and livelihoods, especially for this autistic population that is already disproportionately un/underemployed, added another dimension. Obtaining and retaining a job is difficult enough, but now there is the added stress of readjusting to new norms. The constant change is overloading people whether they are autistic or not.
Initially, this book was meant to be a guide for reacclimation to life post-pandemic: to community, to schools, and to work. But it became so much more. Stories of unique experiences emerged in addition to the expected advice. The sharing ranged from practical to deeply personal: a merging of minds and hearts. Every contributor’s life is linked to autism in some way; they are experts by training, working, or living it. Thus, every perspective was addressed—and then some. Readers will relate to the writers and gain support, motivation, and tools to keep moving forward.
David and I were honored to be invited by AAPC Publishing to contribute a chapter to this unique body of work. What is most astounding to me is that while we were writing it, our country had transcended masking if vaccinated or outdoors. Cases were declining, travel and entertainment reopened, and the crisis was resolving. I was thankful to be emerging from this life-changing world calamity, but it occurred to me that AAPC had better hurry and publish this book before it was obsolete and yesterday’s news! Never did I suspect that we would be experiencing yet another wave with variant viruses, social divide, and more death—extending even to our youth. I never dreamed that we would STILL be faced with uncertainty and risk after the book was released. But here we are…
That said, Life After Lockdown is relevant now more than ever, especially with the rise of mental health sequelae as a result of the last several months’ strain. And the book is of value for EVERYONE, autism or not.
Check it out! Make your life easier!
Click here to purchase on Amazon
Click here to purchase on AAPC