Note: This article describes perfectly some of the agony I've been reading on special needs lists, Facebook feeds and elsewhere. Many, many families with a loved one with autism and even/also Asperger's are facing dramatic violence at home. Others like the family in the article face exhaustion, stress and regression beyond the usual. This April, autism is like every other sickness, medical condition, trauma - told to sit the season one out while Coronivirus sucks up all the media and medical attention. From the article: "In one household, a mother was forced to hire a removal truck to cart almost every piece of her furniture into storage after her fifteen-year-old daughter 'quite literally trashed the family home'." In another, a 16-year-old boy who is 'not coping at all' launched a mahogany dining chair straight at his parents.
The forgotten faces of the coronavirus crisis: How COVID-19 has upended the worlds of exhausted parents caring for children with autism - leaving them to battle gut-wrenching regression and violent outbursts
Kathrine Peereboom is mother to three lively boys, Oliver, six, Joshua, five, and four-year-old Tyler, all of whom are profoundly autistic.
Together with husband Steve, Ms Peereboom raises her sons on the Gold Coast in Queensland while working full-time as the founder and CEO of Spectrum Support, a charity dedicated to people caring for loved ones with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
ASD is a range of developmental disabilities including autism and Asperger syndrome that cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges.
People with ASD communicate, interact and learn differently to typically developing children, with cognitive abilities ranging from gifted to severely impaired. One in 70 Australians were diagnosed with the disorder in 2019.
Like all children with ASD, Ms Peereboom's boys crave routine and thrive in structured environments where they follow the same schedule every day.
Coronavirus upended the carefully crafted timetables that have taken parents like the Peerebooms years to perfect, after schools shut and carers were forced to suspend home visits as social distancing restrictions tightened across every state from March 23.
Ms Peereboom told Daily Mail Australia these sudden changes have caused enormous distress for her sons, who are still struggling to understand why they have not seen their teachers or caught the bus to school - their favourite activity - in well over a month.
She believes the pandemic has highlighted fundamental shortages in Australia's disability sector and a glaring lack of consideration for the autistic community that must be addressed when the crisis ends.
'I haven't heard the word autism come out of anybody's mouth [in relation to coronavirus]. Nothing from the government at all,' she said.
'It's been extremely difficult. The first week of home schooling was a complete and utter disaster. We've seen behaviours appear that are just totally outside their normal characters.'
Oliver, the eldest, has struggled most of all. The six-year-old simply cannot comprehend why - as he sees it - his parents have suddenly suspended his activities and confined him to the house.
Oliver wakes at 5am each morning and 'vocal stims' for roughly 14 hours a day until he goes to bed at 7.30pm.
Stimming is a form of repetitive behaviour like drumming fingers, rocking back and forth or making sounds from the mouth to relieve stress and discomfort. It is common in children and young adults classified on the autism spectrum disorder.
Fighting back tears, Ms Peereboom said she has seen Oliver's cognitive abilities unravel before her eyes since the country implemented stage two social distancing restrictions on March 23 in a bid to slow the spread of the deadly virus.
'It's been gut wrenching,' she said of his rapid regression.... Read more at DailyMail.uk.