Processing the Pandemic
Grandview Kid, Kevin, was first diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the age of two. At that time, and for about a year and half afterwards, Kevin had no functional speech, meaning that he couldn’t tell anyone if he was hungry, cold or in pain. For the first two years after Kevin’s diagnosis, his parents depended on the therapy he received at Grandview Kids in order to prepare him for school.
Speech, behavioural and occupational therapy sessions have been critical to Kevin’s development. He also participated in a valuable workshop at Grandview Kids, More Than Words, where his parents benefitted from the expertise of professionals who guided them on new strategies for communicating with their son.
Kevin’s first attempts at self-advocacy and functional communication were based on drawings, videos and writing. He started creating comics around four-years-old, and was very skilled at drawing at a young age. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Kevin experienced many challenges, having his entire support system and school suspended for a long period of time.
“When we went into our first pandemic lockdown, Kevin tried to make sense of everything he was seeing and learning by writing a comic book,” says Kevin’s mom, Karen. “That was his way of telling us how he saw this new reality in 2020.”
When Kevin showed his parents his comic, they all laughed together as a family. It was very interesting for them to see what it felt like for Kevin when the pandemic started. Evidently, their daily reminders to wash his hands had made an impact, and he’d also taken the words “fight the virus” quite literally. His completed comic was able to find humour in the situation we’re all in.
Virtual school has been a challenge for Kevin, but his mom confirms that with the help of his amazing teacher, she’s confident the will endure this challenge, and triumph!