Autism Awareness Day: Coronavirus adds challenges for the autism community

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — While we all are asked to spread around a little kindness, Autism Speaks is also helping guide the autism community through this pandemic. 

Brittani Pennington’s 10-year-old son Max is on the autism spectrum and was diagnosed when he was two years old.

“Tell us [what] your favorite dinosaur is,” said Pennington. 

“Oh, I know well it’s the velociraptor and the Utahraptor,” said Max. 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Pennington asked. 

“A zoo paleo… I can’t say it,” responded Max. 

“Paleontologist,” Pennington chimed in. 

“Yes, paleontologist,” said Max. 

Pennington has two other children but said she is turning her attention to becoming Max’s teacher which is something she’s somewhat feared. 

“He does not like to work for me, and I said a long time ago that I didn’t want to be his mom and his teacher, I only wanted to be his mom,” said Pennington. “So, I don’t really push him to work at home, but now that we have to it’s been a little difficult.” 

She said the coronavirus outbreak and the stay at home order have caught her family off guard. 

“The most difficult part had been getting school work done. He does not like to work for me, and I said a long time ago that I didn’t want to be his mom and his teacher, I only wanted to be his mom.” 

Pennington now has to work from home while and she attends to the specific needs of Max and said it is difficult. 

There is help for her and the autism community on the Autism Speaks website

It breaks down how parents can help their child during the pandemic with educational, behavioral, and even stress and mental health resources. 

Pennington has been taking advantage of the website to explain to her son about the coronavirus, and she remains optimistic that everything will be fine for her family. 

“I printed a social story for him that I found so that he can really understand what everyone is going through. We’re just trying to navigate through this new world. It’s been a little difficult but I know we’ll get through it.” 

Pennington thanked the teachers and the community for reaching out and checking on her family through these times. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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