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Writer With Autism Discusses Preparing Meals During Coronavirus Quarantine

It’s no overstatement to say that the Coronavirus pandemic has upended daily life for countless people throughout the U.S. and around the world. For many people on the autism spectrum, the disruption to their daily routines is even more stressful and anxiety-inducing. In an article this month for Salon.com, Matthew Rozsa, a writer with autism, shared his own experience coping with the Coronavirus quarantine, as well as insights from other people on the spectrum on cooking and preparing food. Rozsa focused specifically on preparing meals, which he noted can often be an intimidating task for many people on the autism spectrum, himself included. Among those Rozsa spoke with was Dr. Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and a leading advocate for people with autism. Grandin said that, while she too struggles with cooking, self-sufficiency skills she developed in the past are helping her cope with the current situation. Grandin told Rozsa that she’ll often take lunch meat "and put it on some salad. Before everything closed down I managed to buy some really nice olive oil and I put that on [the salad]. I was going, 'Resources are tight. I have to eat this.' Haley Moss, the first openly autistic female attorney in Florida history, was also candid about the challenges of adapting to the Coronavirus quarantine, particularly when it comes to eating. “For me, cooking is difficult,” Moss, who is currently staying with her parents, acknowledged. “I didn't always have the time or the knowledge. I also am a picky eater and have struggled with trying new foods, so now I am being more mindful since the routines or sameness of what I eat might not be the same; for instance, no more going out to dinner on a weekend, or lunch meetings at restaurants. It's a huge adjustment." Moss told Rosza that her parents are helping her adapt by preparing her meals and helping her maintain her routine. Autism advocate and Wrong Planet founder Alex Plank told Rosza he is subsisting on “lots of rice and frozen foods that are protein-based, like meat or fish and cans of things like black beans and garbanzo beans. And I learned how to make rice, which is fairly easy to do. You just literally put a cup of rice into a bowl and pour two cups of water into it and then microwave it for 15 minutes on half power and it makes rice." As for himself, Rosza said he is relying on the cooking skills of his fiancée, and has also learned how to prepare some simple dishes, such as eggs. “If necessity is the mother of invention, then perhaps this horrible pandemic can provide autistic individuals like myself with an opportunity to undergo some forced therapy when it comes to our executive functioning skills,” he mused. “After all, everyone needs to eat.” Source: https://www.salon.com/2020/04/11/how-the-neurodivergent-are-left-behind-by-the-pandemics-new-social-rules/

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