Autism & Lockdown
March 2020. We were like most out there, a normal family: hubby was working, James was at college & I had my volunteering. Weather was decent for that time of year too.
COVID-19 was on the news more and more, flights were being cancelled and restrictions were beginning to take effect.
In better weather the boys would often hire a buggy on the golf course, Stewart (my husband) would play, while James would drive and rake the bunkers. I would join them for a few holes before heading to the 19th (my kind of golf).
To mark James completing his college course, we said to him that we would go out for a picnic on the golf course with a Buggy. We were all booked up, except now there was no hiring of buggies. You could still play golf, but that’s no excitement for our Autism Superstar! So, the search began to find a course in Angus that still hired them. Finally, Forfar came to the rescue & off we went with my knitting in tow.
Days later… Full Lockdown!
Stewart works in a supermarket, so he was able to keep working. James had no college and my volunteering had stopped. Back to having J around the house fulltime was a novelty to start with.
We had our fair share of upsets over the first few months, the punch bag in the garage got its fair share of ill-treatment, golf clubs whacked at it along with a crutch – anything to get James’ frustration out.
I remember the police were called one evening – James was shouting so loudly, screaming and thumping the walls so hard plasterboard was coming down from the bathroom cabinet in the adjacent room. There was absolutely nothing we could do to console him. He was only wanting to know what we were going to do that evening & tomorrow and the rest of this “bl***y lockdown”.
But we couldn’t tell him. We didn’t have the answers anymore.
We couldn’t go anywhere, see anyone and absolutely nothing we suggested would help. The police arrived, which obviously exacerbated the whole thing. James shouting & swearing at them, “Get out my *** house, have you guys no heard of *** COVID, 2 *** meters, stand the *** back you’re not allowed in here”.
To give them their due, they were brilliant and could see we were at our wits end as a family. They gave us permission to take James out in the car no matter what time of day and wherever (within reason) have a picnic, throw stones on a beach, whatever helps James to cope with what’s going on.
Luckily, we have a decent sized garden, so the fences, summerhouse and wall were all painted before the end of April. Well timed to be honest as James secured himself a job in town. I quickly became ‘taxi driver’ and things settled – we established a routine again.
Time passed, we had enough toilet roll and pasta. I started telephone befriending, became an expert on Zoom (NOT) and the boys continued working away. It was a different way of living, but you HAVE to learn to adapt. Don’t get me wrong, I worried when James started working, will he understand the rules, social distancing, one-way systems etc.? All these things can be hard enough for you and me to cope with but for someone who’s only 16 and Autistic!
Stewart and I have had both vaccines, James was offered but declined as his fear of needles is immense. Over a year on with COVID, we have no intention of going abroad, so no Turkey for James’ 18th this year (which he has taken extremely well). We are beginning to catch up with family and friends we haven’t seen for so long, being able to hug one another again, it’s the small things we took for granted before that mean so much more now, and we will never forget that.
Thanks again for reading.