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The First Time I Took My Son With Autism Out During COVID-19

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So, we did it. This afternoon for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started, I took Dominic to a public place — our local post office.

We needed to mail something by priority mail as well as buy some stamps. Before we went, I had put it on his daily schedule and showed him the social story for using a face mask. The only other time we had tried to get him to wear a mask was a handful of weeks back and he took it off after 30 seconds, so I was very apprehensive about him keeping it on the entire time we were at the post office.

Before deciding to take him, I talked about it all morning with the hubby and Lauren. Even though I am on two medications for my generalized anxiety disorder, I still, once in a great while, get that old familiar feeling in the pit of my stomach, that unpleasant pre-worrying feeling. Anyways, I asked Dominic if he wanted to take the social story with us in the car on our way to the post office and he said no. Once we pulled into the parking lot, I put on my mask and told Dominic that he had to put his on and keep it on the entire time we were inside the post office. I had to help him put it on, but once it was on, he didn’t try and take it off.

A banner promoting The Mighty's new Navigating Coronavirus Together group on The Mighty mobile app. The banner reads, Want to connect with others who are managing their health during the pandemic? Join Navigating Coronavirus Together now. Click to join.

Once inside the building, I had to grab a priority mail label and start filling it out. I fished around in my purse and I couldn’t find my pen. I knew I had one in my purse, because I checked before we left our house. I had literally worked myself into such a bundle of nerves, that once I calmed myself down, I found it. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait at all. During this whole time, Dominic was cool as a cucumber and not once did he try and take the mask off while we were conducting our business at the counter. The transaction with the postal clerk took less than five minutes and then we left the building. I told Dominic that once we were back outside, he could take off the mask.

He handled the whole outing like a pro. I, on the other hand, was stressed out the entire time. Dominic having three seizures at the beginning of this pandemic, really messed with my head. I have been terrified of taking him to any public place. I knew at some point, he had to get out. Believe me, this isn’t the first time my anxiety has prevented Dominic from doing something. I am continually working on it. All I can do is just keep going forward and giving Dominic that independence he deserves!! Wish me luck!!

a teenager wearing a red mask at the post office giving a thumbs up

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: July 9, 2020
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