Over the past few months, we have all witnessed the unimaginable changes to daily life that have accompanied the onset of COVID-19. We have had to alter the way we function in public, how we work, and how we socialize. How we travel has also changed, interrupting expected or planned routines, particularly if you’re autistic.
As many are now learning, some of the best ways to cope with the ever changing COVID-19 climate is to be proactive, plan, and anticipate the need to be flexible. These are not easy skills to acquire and maintain even in pre-pandemic times. However, there are supports available to assist adults on the spectrum and their families to navigate changes in transportation routines.
If you are using public transportation, make sure to research or call your local transit authority before using a bus, train, or shuttle. Transit services have likely implemented many changes, such as:
Create New Travel Routines.
Some individuals may have the opportunity to work from home more and commute less. Some college students are learning remotely from home instead of on campus. If you are in the house more, it can be easy to slip into a bit of cabin fever and become anxious about the monotony of your day. You can still get out and stay connected to the world, but just remember to do so safely! Pick up a meal from your favorite restaurant instead of eating out, grab a cup of coffee to-go, plan to run errands during downtime from work or classes. I love this entry by Autism Speaks Advocate Andrew Arboe who shares early challenges with obtaining his license and developing a routine around driving pre-pandemic, and how he has had to adjust with limited commuting and breaking from his routine during the pandemic.
“...we all face adversity, but it’s all about how we handle it…”
This statement has never been more true! Everyone is being forced to live and function in a manner that is out of our comfort zones. We all have different reactions to change and means of adapting, whether you are neurotypical or neurodiverse. Sometimes, it can be helpful to hear other perspectives on how to adapt to change to better inform our own decision-making. Three entries from autistic adults reveal different thoughts, reactions, and ways of coping with transportation changes in the age of COVID-19. Their stories show that there are multiple ways to approach changes in routine during the pandemic; there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer!
How are you coping with changes in routine, be it transportation or other aspects of daily living? Leave a comment below!
The New Normal in Public Transit and Paratransit During COVID: https://www.autismspeaks.org/science-news/new-normal-public-transit-and-paratransit-during-covid?utm_source=email&utm_medium=text-link&utm_campaign=espeaks
Charlotte Area Transit System: https://charlottenc.gov/cats/Pages/default.aspx
Advocate Andrew Arboe Shares How His Journey Behind the Wheel Has Been a Journey of Perseverance and Self-Awareness: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/advocate-andrew-arboe-shares-how-his-journey-behind-wheel-has-been-journey-perseverance-and?utm_source=email&utm_medium=text-link&utm_campaign=espeaks
Preparing for Changes to Transportation as an Adult on the Spectrum: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/preparing-changes-transportation-adult-spectrum?utm_source=email&utm_medium=text-link&utm_campaign=espeaks
Traveling with Autism: https://www.autismspeaks.org/traveling-autism
Autism-Friendly Transportation Practices: https://www.altogetherautism.org.nz/autism-friendly-transport-practices/