Sarah Ransdell

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Everybody is learning to handle social isolation and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. People with autism spectrum disorder, like me, have often had to deal with social isolation our whole lives. It gives us a unique perspective and experience honing strategies that could help the rest of the world cope.

ASD causes a very wide range of differing thinkers. Some think more verbally, like I do. Temple Grandin, a well-known ASD advocate I spoke with for this article, thinks more visually. Both of us are professors with high-functioning abilities, what used to be called Asperger's Syndrome type symptoms.

ASD is rare, affecting about 1%-2% of the population, and is still poorly understood. While high-functioning manifestations of ASD can often produce highly successful adults, a prominent characteristic in many of us is social communication differences.

People with ASD think differently than most people, and how we face challenges is something everyone can learn from. Here are three strategies.

Schedule your time

Being stuck at home during a pandemic is almost like being on the International Space Station. There, like on Earth during a social lockdown, new rules apply.

"The most important thing is establishing a new schedule," Grandin said. "It's a real mess right now and discipline is important. For example, on the ISS, astronauts must even schedule time to be alone."

Grandin's advice: Get up, get dressed, get ready for work or online classes just like you normally would, even if you aren't leaving home.

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