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๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐‚๐Ž๐•๐ˆ๐ƒ-๐Ÿ๐Ÿ— ๐ก๐š๐ฌ ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ฅ๐ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ข๐ฌ๐š๐›๐ฅ๐ž๐

Iโ€™m sitting here, watching Afiyah play with oats and getting up to constant mischief and my mind is wondering how things have changed since COVID-19.

The year 2020, was one of the worst years for everyone around the world, not to mention those who lost their lives to this horrible disease and the pain of those who lost their loved ones.

Although the world was in crisis and everyone was struggling whilst living in isolation, for the first time many families like mine were the ones not struggling as much as the rest of the world.

You see, Autism comes with its perksโ€ฆ when I say perks, I mean isolation. Those who are autistic donโ€™t really like being amongst crowds and socialising so they donโ€™t really mind being in isolation. Then those who are their parents & and carers, they adopt the idea of isolation because they donโ€™t really have a choice.

So when it came to lockdown, for the first time in years, Afiyah and I felt a sense of belonging. Afiyah obviously is engrossed in her mischief and her being severely autistic, she didnโ€™t really know what was going on but for me, it was like a breath of fresh air. Everything was online, I mean everything!!!

I hadnโ€™t seen any family and friends for almost 2 years as I couldnโ€™t take Afiyah to any parties (she flips out) and neither could I leave her with anyone (I didnโ€™t have any carers since 2018). So for the first time in almost 2 years, I managed to socialise on Zoom with a group of extended family members and friends. I was like, itโ€™s party time!!! The best part was, Afiyah could join in too as all I had to do was turn the camera towards Afiyah. Not that she appreciated our Zoom socialising but in my head, Afiyah was part of a social event too which was a big achievement โ€ฆ

Taking Afiyah for any medical appointments has always been a challenge but as she got older, it got harder. But since COVID-19, GPs and paediatricians are happy with phone consultations - another victory and it definitely is party time for this one!!!

The Pandemic forced everyone to think outside the box. When extreme circumstances are presented, we start thinking outside the box and find creative ways to get things done. All disabled people are living under extreme circumstances each day and somehow, the pandemic has offered them many solutions because it suited the rest of the world and not just the disabled.

When I speak with other people who have a disability, they say the same thing. Although they donโ€™t have autism but have a physical disability, they have felt the pandemic has helped them in many ways. With the option of working from home now, many disabled people have more options since workplace accessibility isnโ€™t always easy with a wheelchair.

In a nutshell, isolation was a walk in the park for those with a disability and their carers. Now, when the world has resumed its โ€œnormalโ€ activity, some disabled people and their families are still living in isolation due to their extreme circumstances. Maybe you can organise a Zoom meeting for them once in a blue moon to make them feel part of the society or you can drop them a message to remind them that they are not forgotten. After all, the pandemic has taught us to appreciate one another whilst we can.

With this note, Iโ€™m going to say good luck to those who are fighting the good fight each day. Stay blessed everyone.

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