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Remote Work May Benefit People With Autism

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An office. (Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

Workplaces can be difficult to navigate for some people on the autism spectrum. When many offices became remote last year, they became, in some respects, more hospitable to employees who are not neurotypical.

People with disabilities and disability advocates have pushed for remote work options for years. But many found that many employers weren’t amenable until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the issue.

Crystal Lee, a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult autism and ADHD, said that for employees with those conditions, office environments can be overstimulating.

“For the majority of my clients, they really do enjoy the remote work and feel really comfortable in their space,” she said, “and not having all the sensory distractions that can come with many open plan work settings.”

Working remotely may also improve the collaborative process, said Lee, because it allows for more time to think and process responses — an opportunity not necessarily granted in a room full of people.

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Museums Seek Silver Lining After One Year Of Closure

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In the backyard area of the "afroLAtinidad" exhibition at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, with objects representing dance and movement. Mike Roe/LAist

Museums in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties will be allowed to open again starting Monday.

In counties that have reached the red tier, museums can accommodate visitors at 25% capacity, with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

After being closed for about a year, some institutions are looking for the silver lining in their pandemic experiences.

John Echeveste, the CEO of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown, said the pandemic forced the museum to find innovative ways of making art more accessible.

“The real change ... is that we have done a lot more virtual programming,” he said. “We do our En Casa con LA Plaza streaming program three times a week, and we've also moved several of our exhibits to a digital platform.”

LA Plaza hopes to reopen by March 29. At that time, appointments will be required, and can be made online.

Hammer Museum spokesman Fred Yeries said after a year of being closed, they are looking forward to opening the doors.

“The majority of our staff is in place, with the exception of our student staff, who serve as our ambassadors when visitors come to the museum,” he said. “A lot of the students are either not in class or [not] available immediately, so we're really starting the process to re-engage them.”

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Some Restaurateurs Are Hesitant To Resume Indoor Dining

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Chairs up on tables at Grand Central Market, a scene that has quickly become a familiar sight. All restaurants in Los Angeles have been ordered to close their dining rooms. Chava Sanchez/LAist

L.A. County residents and visitors will once again be able to dine indoors and go to movie theaters as the region moves into the red tier of reopening this week.

Under the red tier, restaurants can resume indoor dining with a handful of restrictions, and museums, zoos, aquariums and other venues can reopen at 25% capacity.

Many restaurateurs have been counting the days to reopening — but others have hesitations.

Sylvie Gabriele, owner of Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach, said she’s not quite ready to open for indoor dining, but as other neighboring restaurants begin to offer that option, she will likely feel pressured to do the same.

“If we stay closed, we're pretty much just handing over our business to other restaurants,” she said. “I’m not as comfortable opening up as I thought I would be ... [but] we will probably be pressured to open sooner than I’d really like.”

Manhattan Beach has had more than 1,200 cases of COVID-19, and 19 residents have died from the virus. As a whole, L.A. County has had more than 1.2 million cases, and nearly 22,500 deaths.

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Vaccine Talks: When Your Dad Supports The Vaccine And Your Mom Thinks It’s Dangerous

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Selfie of Jenna Wilson and her father, Patrick Wilson. (Photo by Jenna Wilson)

This is part of a series of conversations that Cal State Northridge students had with loved ones about COVID-19 vaccinations. Planning your own conversation with family or friends? Here are some tips.

Jenna Wilson, Lakeside

My dad and I have a lot of differences, but we do agree on the vaccine being necessary to end the spread of COVID-19 and, most importantly, to stop deaths from happening. He is quick to point out he has friends who are doctors and from what they say, the COVID-19 vaccine is as safe as any other.

In contrast to my dad, my mom has been skeptical of the vaccine. She got sucked into believing conspiracy theories heavily promoted in right-wing circles. This was difficult to witness because I genuinely worried about what this misinformation could mean for her health in the future. And it was surprising to me she would believe some of the things she did, since she herself works in the medical field.

Thankfully, time has helped her see (not fully, but I’ll take what I can get) that the vaccine could be necessary and that it has benefits. My dad continues to be optimistic while waiting for his turn.

READ THE REST OF OUR 'VACCINE TALKS' SERIES:

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