Telling the stories of a pandemic

I was away from my blog post tasks last week while working on the April print issue of Access Press. […]

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I was away from my blog post tasks last week while working on the April print issue of Access Press. This issue will have two sections readers can pull out and save.

One, of course, is our quarterly print directory of services and supports. More on that later.

We also have more of our COVID-19 coverage, through our funding from the Minnesota Department of Health. We’ve published stories about the different aspects of the virus over the past several months.

April’s issue features stories from some of our readers about their COVID-19 experiences. We’ll be sharing more stories and more information online in April.

Some stories are told in the first person; others are an interview format.

We’re not using names and had changed a few other potentially identifying details in each story. When we began working on these stories, there was a consistent request that we protect identities.

As someone whose disabilities over the years have limited her from employment and other opportunities, I strongly respect that desire for privacy. I have always said that with disability self-disclosure is a huge, huge thing.

The first several stories share different experiences, from people of varying ages, disabilities and backgrounds. How COVID-19 affected each person is so unique. Some cases have been like a bad cold. Others put people in the hospital.

Editors typically note that they hope people “enjoy” what they read. It’s difficult to think of “enjoying” the stories of illness and disability. But I hope we all have learned something through all of this. I also hope personal stories are instructive.

In this world where we are all so connected, viruses can spread and mutate in a flash. I remember quietly scoffing when people would say that COVID-19 vaccines would be like our annual flu shots. I was so very wrong. I’m planning for my latest vaccine.

I and many others also many have assumed that every COVID-19 case would be the same. That is certainly not the case, either. I am really struck by the wide, wide range of impacts the virus has. Those are often magnified for people with disabilities.

Want to share your experience with us? You can do so on the home page of our website,

Go to our reader question and tell us your COVID story in 250 characters or less. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Work with your care provider to stay healthy. Protect yourself. Vaccines are your best protection against being sick.
  • Wash your hands! Hands that look can still have icky germs!

You are not alone. Minnesota Autism Resource Portal.