BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It’s no secret that COVID-19 has completely altered basically every aspect of our lives, and families impacted by autism and special needs are facing many struggles in the midst of all these changes.
“It definitely has its struggles because most of, you know, especially children and adults as well that are on the spectrum, they have their routines that they’re used to and now their routine has been, you know, basically changed completely," said the Autism Society-Kern Autism Network treasurer Nikki Lewis.
Lewis has a 17-year-old son on the spectrum and said she joined the nonprofit to help parents in similar situations.
“I’m able to help parents that are, you know, just coming into this and they have little ones and go through my experience so they know they aren’t alone and there is a lot of programs and services out there, and we’re here to help them," Lewis said.
The organization is hosting a face mask distribution event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Canyon Hills Church. Lewis said she hopes the event can give families extra support during a challenging time.
“It’s definitely a hard situation to be in. I mean across the board for everybody, but especially families with special needs kids. It does cause people to regress sometimes. It can cause behaviors. You know, it can cause a lot of different things," she said.
Lewis said the Autism Society-Kern Autism Network is also providing food and basic necessities for families in need with children or adults on the spectrum. All a family needs to do is reach out, and Lewis says the nonprofit is always accepting donations to help those families.
“[COVID-19] is really restricting us, which is, you know, hard, hard to have different events to bring in donations being that we are strictly donation-based so anything that the community is able to do to help us out is greatly appreciated," she said.
Lewis said to call (661) 489-3335 or email the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to pick up or donate items.
If you’d like to attend the face mask drive, Lewis said to RSVP before 10 a.m. here.