California funds programs and services for more than 360-thousand children and adults with disabilities. 26-year-old Sean Seligson, who has an advanced form of autism, is part of that group.
When California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 19, many of those programs, including Sean's day program called ICAN, transitioned to online instruction.
“House with Friends,” the state-funded group home where Sean sleeps five nights a week, remained open but Sean’s mother, Rosemond Seligson, decided to keep him home. As an experienced occupational therapist of over 30 years, Seligson knew she was capable of taking care of Sean and keeping his routine structured.
“People with autism are very used to their routines and he doesn’t understand why he is not going to the day program,” Seligson said. “We have had the zoo on the schedule for two months and why he can’t go to the zoo… so I think it creates some anxiety for him because everything is different all at once.”
Seligson is glad that Sean’s day program is providing online services, but she said it really comes down to how families are helping during this challenging time.
“The family really needs to rally around the person with a disability and give them a structured day and include them in household tasks,” Seligson said. “And I think it really depends on how much the parent understands the disability and how involved they were in the first place.”
For now, Seligson strives to keep Sean “happy good,” something he continuously says with a smile in his eyes.