In Events, Family, Parenting, by Healthy Family Living TeamLeave a Comment

Home-schooling, working from home, supporting friends and family, physical distancing and social isolation have been hard on all of us over the past months. Even more so for people with autism spectrum disorders and the people who love & care for them.

We were deeply moved by these two stories from Canucks Autism Network members Keara & Iveta. Take a minute to read their stories and join us in supporting CANUCKS AUTISM NETWORK and the important work that they do in our community!

Mothers of children with autism have stress levels comparable to combat veterans.

My name is Iveta and I’m the mother of two beautiful girls. My youngest, Kaya, has autism. Ever since we had to start homeschooling, Kaya has struggled with most of the activities that have been assigned to her. With so many kids in her virtual classroom, the instruction isn’t adapted to Kaya’s needs. She doesn’t get the support she usually does in person. It has been very stressful and exhausting. It wasn’t until CAN started putting their videos out that Kaya finally started to pay attention.

I could tell by her wide eyes that Kaya felt like the CAN coaches were talking to her. Watching another person doing the activity alongside her made a world of difference. For Kaya, she feels safe and at home with CAN, so she sees the videos as being for her. So she pays attention. At school, she never feels like that.

This time has been really hard for us all. We’re just so thankful to CAN that we have activities to do at home that are short and simple enough for our amazing kids but challenging enough that they can work on their skills and still have fun! Because of CAN, I have hope that our family will get through this.

Iveta - Canucks Autism Network Parent

Adults with autism can be particularly vulnerable to social isolation and mental health issues, like depression & anxiety.

My name is Keara and I’m a 24-year-old adult with autism living on the North Shore with my cat Maggie. I don’t cope well with sudden changes and I become very irritable if I’m on my own for long periods of time. I feel trapped in my apartment as I stare out the window and look at the old wooden building across the way. It’s like the walls are closing in on me. I wonder if my neighbours are experiencing the same kind of stress as I am and if people would understand if I were to explain how I feel about COVID-19.

Living independently, I have to manage certain tasks alone like grocery shopping, budgeting, and doing laundry. When I’m at home, I like to watch TV, write, bake, and hang out with my cat Maggie. Pets are a great companion for people on the spectrum because they’re always there for you when you need a friend. Over the past month, I have taken part in virtual programs hosted by CAN including Netflix Watching Parties, Zoom Meet-Ups, and online exercise classes.

The CAN Online Fitness classes have been especially good for me. I used to go to the gym and workout when I was bored. But I don’t have that option at the moment. Physical activity is important to me because it helps me de-stress and stay in shape. The CAN fitness classes are a great way to bond with my peers while maintaining my fitness. Participating in CAN online programs has helped me feel a sense of belonging and decreased my feelings of social isolation, anxiety and depression. 

Keara Farnan, Canucks Autism Network Participant & Volunteer

Click HERE and Make a contribution to give families access to vital online programs that can support them right now!

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