‘He needs to be productive’: A year in the life of a young man with autism during the pandemic

Connecticut Families

COVENTRY, Conn. (WTNH) — “Curt’s world stopped last March,” says Cindy Hall, who had to find a new routine for her 33-year-old son with autism. “He loves art, so I got his loom out….I said, ‘Curt, do you want to weave? And so curt started weaving.”

It became almost a symbol…a tactile tale of the pandemic…and this young man’s life.

“I would start counting how many weavings Curt had and it got to be 10, 20, 30,” she says. “To date, a year later, he’s done 170 weavings. Now, we took those weavings and created pillows – we said, ‘Let’s start telling Curt’s story through these pillows.”

Hall says this expression of art has been the key to getting them through the last year…a time that hit families affected by disabilities extremely hard.

“Then we’d have lunch, then we’d come out to the alpaca pen and clean up the alpaca pens. He’s a hard worker he just needs to be productive,” says Hall, who lives on the Round Hill alpaca farm.

During Autism Awareness Month, this Coventry mother wants the public to know that Curt has grown and evolved through the years, thanks to care and support.

“When he was younger, it was challenging,” she says. “I mean, when you can’t sing Happy Birthday to your kid because he doesn’t like that song, that’s tough but now he sings it to us.”

Lessons learned over decades…lessons learned during an international crisis.

“Listening to parents and their experience I think goes a long way to how we can help again if something like this were to happen,” says Hall.

She says her son listens carefully and has so much packed inside him. She knows more evolution could happen.

“But in the meantime, we get to see what gifts he gives us through his art and weaving and the creative expression he brings to us,” she says. “Curt is an amazing gift.”

The Halls founded a non-profit to fund an integrated community for typical people and those with disabilities in Coventry. Slowly, their dream is becoming a reality.

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