Please don’t ‘mask shame’ someone especially if they are practicing physical distancing. You may not know the challenges they are going through.

In my recent workshop I gave on sensory challenges I discuss how, along with social and communication challenges, how sensory challenges tended to be my 2nd biggest challenge growing up on the autism spectrum. It started when I was about 2 and a half and I would cry when we would have fire drills. The loud noises actually led to a bit of regression early on. I also had a hypersensitivity to touch which would have made wearing a mask as a kid nearly impossible. Years later thanks to occupational therapy and a wide range of strategies, I’ve learned how to manage most of my sensory challenges as an adult.

Shannon Des Rosa wrote in the Washington Post about her son in terms of wearing a mask that he’s, “Not trying to be difficult. He’s autistic.’

Now during COVID19 I know countless families in our community who are struggling with wearing a mask. Not only those with autism, but those with sensory processing disorders, epilepsy, anxiety, breathing challenges and other related conditions. What makes matters worse is the heat wave we are currently facing making wearing a mask even that more unbearable.

If someone is in your space – I’m not saying you shouldn’t do anything. Keeping 6 feet of distance right now is pivotal so we can flatten this curve. If you can move to another location please consider that. If that’s not possible at the time ask them politely if they’d put their mask on if available.

We all have the opportunity to be kind through this process. Just something I wanted to discuss with my platform.

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My name is Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum that started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help support me so I can continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here.