Let’s Help Sam Exall Sign His Petition To Government For The Need To Increase The Awareness Of Mask Exemptions
Ever since the novel coronavirus plagued the world, nothing has been the same. There have been drastic changes in the entire system, from the educational, health system and even political system. In one way or the other, the global pandemic has had an adverse effect on everything.
Conforming to these new changes can be really challenging on anyone especially for kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and people with other disabilities. These changes can be a very big source of stress and anxiety, on the patients and even their carers. Desperate measures have been taken to manage this novel corona virus. These measures can take a heavy toll on those with autism, and their support system. Yes! it can really affect them.
Individuals with autism are more susceptible to Covid-19 complications, according to the CDC. This attributes to the fact that they have immune disorders and hence isolation can be problematic on them and even their carers. This is because due to the global pandemic their routine, which theyve grown used to has been altered. These individuals might find it hard to comprehend what the whole pandemic is about, and how to express themselves, thereby increasing their stress levels and also that of their carers, which is by no means their fault.
In a situation where kids and even adults with autism spectrum disorder are in need of medical attention during this pandemic, the situation becomes all time consuming for them and their families. Most children might remove the nose masks of their parents or carers, some might take off their nose masks while others might not attempt wearing them at all probably because of their sensory issues.
What is Autism?
This is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact. It affects the nervous system. One of the common attributes of children with ASD is a massive obsession with routine, and disrupting this routine for any reason might lead to an aberration in their emotional and behavioral pattern. These changes due to the effect of the pandemic can be both challenging for them and their carers. Some autistic people may not grasp why they need to wear a mask, some might refuse wearing one and even go as far as removing those of their caregivers. There had been a change in their routine.
We all know that the government has made it compulsory for everyone to put on a face covering in public places such as: shops, supermarkets, banks, train stations, planes, etc. Although it has been made mandatory to put on nose masks and face shields, there are some groups that have been exempted from all these. Exceptionally for carers, this includes those with disability, autism or learning disabilities, lung and breathing problems, mental or physical illness, etc.
There have been different options for displaying exemption:
- Mask exemption ----------mobile phone badge
- Mask exemption ----------print version
- Mask exemption ----------Badge version
It will be difficult for some autistic children and adults to wear face masks because of the sensory differences they encounter. It may bring them great distress. Hence, there are significant exemptions put in place for people with ASD who struggle to wear face covering. In that vein, the government has made it known that the general public, transport staff and all concerning bodies need to be aware of these exemptions to avoid harassing carers and autistic people. However, the government needs to do more in creating awareness because carers and autistic people are still being harassed, in supermarkets, malls, buses etc.
Sam Exallis a family man, a father who has an autistic daughter and hence he's been exempted from wearing a mask in public so as not to scare his daughter and to also be able to communicate with his daughter. He is joining his voice with that of hundreds, if not thousands, of people like him who are at risk of being harassed or abused for not wearing masks.
A woman who suffered this harassment in the hands of another customer in a supermarket has complained that she is now scared of leaving her home. She feels the effect of the lockdown now more than ever, because she cant drop by to pick up things without people making negative comments about her. Some are having panic attacks and other effects of stress from dealing with their patients and the uninformed public.
Some carers are going out of their way to wear face masks in order to prevent this backlash and to not endanger the people around them. This is not a very good idea, seeing that they are putting the autistic patients at great risk. The changes may set them off and lead to dysfunctions that may take years to correct. Therefore, it is up to the general public to learn about the exemptions and help protect the people affected. Not only should you not harass those who are exempted from wearing face coverings, it is also your responsibility to stand up for them and educate the others when you come across scenarios where they are being abused.
Businesses should understand that all their workers and customers should feel safe around their establishments. This includes people with autism and other disabilities as well as their carers. Any policy that puts them at risk isn't a fair one. Arrangements should be made to make sure these people are being protected and cared for. Also, anyone who harms another, whether in form of rule-break or abuse, should be held accountable.
The government's responsibility is to create awareness and make sure everyone knows what the rules are. They’ve put so much energy into making sure everyone knows to wear face masks in public places, and to question people who break this rule and put them in danger. They should also channel some of that energy into making sure the public understands that there are groups exempted from this rule and why it is important for them to feel protected too.
Help Sam Exall and other carers of kids with autism to take care of their kids without being abused. Know this rule, support is, and teach others around you to do the same.