Life with an Autistic child in lockdown

The effects of the Covid 19 global pandemic have had a profound effect on all of us. We have all had to adapt to a new way of living. Accepting a ‘new normal’ and learning to live with the virus. What about those of us who cant process these new changes? What about the children and adults who don’t possess the ability to comprehend what the coronavirus is?

Over 700,000 adults have been diagnosed with Autism in the UK. My brother was diagnosed with Autism when he was three years old. A diagnosis that has undisputedly changed and affected the course of all our lives. Not conscious of the pandemic or the changing world around him, its been a challenging time for us as a family. Trying to explain to an autistic child that the UK had been put into a national lockdown, that he wouldn't be going to school or be able to go out and do the things he normally would, was an inevitable disaster.

Every autism parent knows, routine is everything. When the routine breaks, chaos ensues. Coming to terms with a new normal, also meant coming to terms with all the new challenges that presented themselves. Sleep regression, toilet accidents and behavioural changes were all side effects to the anxiety that was ultimately triggered within my brother.

As a sibling it has always been incredibly hard. I have mostly come second in almost every situation, something that I’ve had a tough time coming to terms with personally. Being thrown into a sudden lockdown, going from being distracted from the reality of autism, being at work or out and about, to staying at home for almost 14 months straight. It has been really difficult. the reality of the situation has been living with a child whose anxiety is through the roof, running up and down the stairs with changes of clothes and underwear, due to multiple toilet accidents a day. you have to have eyes in the back of your head. My brother acts out when he is overwhelmed, overstimulated and under exerted. When he doesn't sleep, my parents don't sleep, I'm kept awake and usually woken up at least once during the night.

As a 22 year old woman, it has become increasingly apparent the effects of my brothers condition, not only on myself but on my parents. I want to make it clear that I adore my brother. Yet the lines between sister and mother have blurred. I have looked after him as a mother, have been subjected to scenarios and situations that no sister should ever have to find herself in. This isn't a pity party. I am trying to highlight the extremity of what life with an autistic child in lockdown is really like. We have had good times, with big ups and big downs.

We have had to find a new routine, combat the obstacle of my brothers self harm, purposefully scratching himself until the area is an open wound and then resisting any treatment, continuing to scratch and pick at the wound until its bleeding and bigger than before.

It can feel as though youre in your own unique prison. everyone else is in lockdown but you’re in a deeply, brutal version of the same reality. I plan to write further on the topics I have previously mentioned. I hope this article has offered some form of insight into life in lockdown and lockdwon with an autistic child.

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Seana Eve

Wannabe lifestyle blogger. Sister to a child with Autism. Working in the Film and TV industry.