The Coronavirus Pandemic: Michael’s Journey With Autism
The Pandemic: Michael’s Story:
About the Author:
My name is Michael Moreno and my story goes through a deep length into my diagnosis as well as through some of my life’s struggles and challenges through being neurodiverse. I was originally diagnosed around the time I was born. I was unaware that I had autism until I was a teenager. I had to research [autism] more thoroughly and found interesting results that changed my life forever. It took me years to cope with this change and it drove me to acceptance towards my neurodiversity. I had an interest towards technology and science, and I had the curiosity to learn and research everything I can possibly retain. Thus, I landed towards something that can change everything for the better, and that was Different Brains. Different Brains helped me shape my understanding towards harnessing my skills and learn to adapt to new things. For me, Different Brains stands for empowering individuals, striving towards the need to maximize one’s fullest potential, and creating our own independence so we can live a more diverse understanding into our life.
Life Before The Pandemic & Reacting to COVID-19:
Q: Describe your everyday life before the pandemic hit. Include social aspects such as school, work, extracurricular activities you did, and other social aspects.
A: My everyday routine before the outbreak was studying certain mathematics and doing computer programming skills as well. Everything in my social life was taking out the dog and hanging out with my family and playing in the park.
Q: Describe how you initially reacted to COVID-19 and social distancing.
A: My reaction was kind of unexpected, to be honest. I’ve heard about the coronavirus on the news a little bit before it happened, but it’s unexpected that it would happen.
Life Changes & Adaptations:
Q: In what ways did your life and schedule change as a result of the coronavirus?
A: Well, I just happen to study more online now and finding other ways to adapt by using physical activities to stay fit and doing more in the house, and being open-minded.
Q: What have you had to do in order to adapt to these unusual circumstances?
A: I had to look into my options and given how those options weigh on me. I had to now write things more into what to do in the house and given more responsibilities to keep myself busy, and rightfully so.
Autism, the Coronavirus, & Coping With Change:
Q: How has having autism affected the way you’ve been dealing with the coronavirus?
A: When in isolation, usually it would get crazy and such, but I have learned to adapt in new ways to keep myself at work and doing projects and art to affiliate my creative passion.
Q: What coping mechanisms have you been using in order to deal with these strange times?
A: By reading and having conversations with my parents to keep me occupied while the world is going through a strange transition towards a new change.
Life Lessons & Advice:
Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world around you from these circumstances?
A: That we should band together to bring about change and try to survive together in order to ensure that we live and breathe at every moment that we draw breath.
Q: What advice would you give to someone like yourself that’s currently dealing with similar circumstances?
A: To show creativity, passion, display more confidence in yourself, and finally, to always be yourself and don’t let anyone or anything destroy you from pursuing your dreams.
Story by: Michael
Interviewed by: Julia Futo
Interviewed on: June 30th, 2020
Julia Futo was born on August 5th, 1999, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She faced difficulties early on in life with trying to perform everyday tasks. Before she was five years old, she was diagnosed with two learning disabilities: Encephalopathy and developmental coordination disorder (DCD). She struggled in school for a long time, but that changed when she took journalism in high school and learned how to become an advocate. She is currently in college and hopes to help others find their voices.