Pandemic Mental Health Battle Plan Resonates Beyond Families with Autism
Author of autism memoir lays out a pandemic mental health plan on national television
We are being bombarded with an endless stream of new rules to manage Covid-19. There is now the emergence of "pandemic fatigue" as a mental health issue. We find ourselves living in a "What's Not Allowed?" world. Rules and uncertainty abound.
The pandemic has stripped away structure, predictability, routine and certainty. These pillars are critical to those with autism. In fact, their absence causes cumulative mental stress in all of us.
Following the CTV Your Morning segment, viewers pointed out that the autism pandemic battle plan outlined for Teresa's son Erik makes sense for everyone right now.
Given the pandemic uncertainty, the strategies used to cope—and ultimately, to thrive—are universal mental health strategies.
To help her son Erik manage in these unpredictable times, Hedley created what she calls a COVID-19 Blueprint, a battle plan with three categories: Things I Know; Things I Might Be Feeling; Things I Can Do. Erik then has a dropdown menu of explanations and options.
"This is his lifeline. Now he feels in control, and it is what Erik absolutely needs," Hedley says. Turns out, what's good for Erik is good for all of us.
Likewise, those who have read Hedley's book, What's Not Allowed?, are connecting with the storyline in ways they had not expected. "This book resonates with readers because we've all travelled off-trail," explains Hedley. "This is very much a human journey—well beyond autism."
Former anchor and chief correspondent of CBC's The National, Peter Mansbridge, states, "There are a lot of lessons on these pages for all of us, and we can benefit from considering them—and acting upon them."
Hedley has lived in many parts of Canada—and the world, allowing a unique perspective. Canadian Armed Forces Director of Military Family Service, Colonel Telah Morrison, calls Hedley's storytelling " . . . pure brilliance."
The Hon. Mike Lake, international autism advocate, writes, "Teresa is a gifted storyteller... overall a masterful blend of humour and authenticity."
Hedley summarizes, "I liken the book to a house staged for real estate: everyone should be able to feel at home in it and imagine themselves here. I have heard it said, 'stories sustain us,' and I believe this to be true."
Turns out, when it comes to coping and thriving during this pandemic, what works for autism works for everyone.
What's Not Allowed? A Family Journey with Autism.
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Hedley is currently booking media interviews.