• Kirstyn Oliver

The year 2020 - finding inner peace.

Covid-19, Lockdown, Pandemic, Virus… words now used on a regular basis, words that most of us never used before and somehow, they have creeped into our vocabularies just like that.

You would say the year 2020 has not been great. It has disrupted all our lives, plans, dreams. It has not been easy for anyone, for children or adults alike.

How do children understand something that has never been spoken about before? How do children understand something that not even adults have control over? How do children live life, feel the freedom they should have and live spontaneously if we have been imprisoned into our own homes?

I have heard about and seen the wonders of what a lot of autistic children have been up to over the past 7 months. It has not been easy for them either. I am not taking away the fact that difficulties have risen regarding the pandemic, or even that life has changed so much that it’s hard to keep track. But one thing I do want to point out, is the wholeness that autistic children have been able to embrace during these times.

Stress and anxiety levels have decreased because life took a turn, how ironic, when what we usually say is to keep life as it is, no changes, we do not like the unknown, keep things as they are. But then again, if we live in a world like that, one which causes stress, then has this change come for the good?

Adults may have felt more stressed and anxious because they have lost the control they thought they once had, although sweet reminder, we actually don’t have control over life. Children have accepted the time given to them, the cancelled appointments, no more stressful school environment, instead adopted the time to just be themselves, to be together with those they feel safe with, to investigate and focus on what they love, they’ve welcomed back simplicity, time and invested in life so much better than anyone else.

These photos show autistic children doing what they do best, each with their own focus, their own calming place, it’s them being themselves and doing what they do best, loving what they do and living life just as they are.

The colour has been taken out of these photos, to express the hard, difficult, and tough emotions this year has had on us. Covid-19 has been all but joy, happiness, life filling time. Covid-19 has made us look deeper into life to find beauty, to see the small things in life that actually matter, to have a sense of fulfilment in just being. It has taken away jobs, commutes, relationships, economy, health, but it hasn’t been able to take away the essence of who we are. We are still the people once created to love our neighbour, our planet and ourselves. Even if we have to look deep into our souls to find what we are all about.

Each year, month, day, moment, our lives are sketched into different pathways, actions, and memories. The sketch effect on each photo reminds us of how each part of life has been purposefully lined, marked and traced out by our creator.

Autistic people are not disabled from living, from having their own choices, from being themselves. They are not disabled from having an opinion, from having fear and anxiety, neither are they disabled from having fun and be able to love.

Covid-19 has had an affect on everyone, just like for all children, it disrupted their school and education, their routine and activities, raised fear and anxiety in most young people, took away the human touch, the physical presence of a hug most kids adore, it became the year of the unknown.

However by using their interests, their skills, personality, charisma, hobbies and talents, these children were able to find (or were given back the time to pursue) their inner peace, calm and mindfulness.

They knew all along the real meaning to simply being, to accepting ourselves with no distractions, no limitations, no external stress. Stripping away all the busyness and pollution around us, and simply being who they were created to be, with or without an extraordinary gift, they have what they own, their personality, their love, their focus and their heart and all those things sketch a perfect child in the eyes of their creator.


Many thanks to all the children and parents who contributed towards this. Each child is representing what brings them inner peace and what they did during the year 2020 (lockdown), whilst the world was turned upside down. Photos used with permission.


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