A global pandemic can be difficult for anyone to deal with, but especially so for people with autism. Consistency and routine often comprise a large part of the day-to-day comfort zone for an individual with autism, and when the entire world is uprooted, it creates challenges in implementing safety precautions for autism.
This becomes especially apparent when a parent or caretaker has to explain large-scale issues affecting someone’s life that is dependent on a certain education program, specific services such as ABA therapy and/or other care. Add these concerns to the stress that family members, teachers, and therapists feel in their own life, and it can create a frustrating dynamic.
However, the goal is always to create a positive and friendly atmosphere for children with ASD, and it is important to be able to teach proper safety precautions for autism during COVID-19. Read more to learn some helpful tools to impart the necessary information.
With the onset of the coronavirus, stringent health and safety standards are the new normal for everyone in the world.
Many people are struggling with the addition of masks, social distancing, and hyper-frequent hand washing/sanitizing. This doesn’t stop these standards from being necessary for a person with autism, so it is important to create a routine that includes these safety precautions. Different cues for learning and daily routine can be applied here, but being understanding yet firm about them is key.
Similarly, the social effect of these changes in school and out in public can be tough to understand, so it is vital to create pathways of adjustment that do not upset a child with autism. These can include teaching moments when there are fewer people than normal — off-hours in public or grocery stores are great. Private talks with teachers and tutors are also ideal ways to explain the newer dynamics.
No one has a comprehensive set of answers, but the best option is to be communicative, patient, and work together for a clear dynamic.
While a big part of helping a person with autism adjust to COVID-19 is planning new strategies, it is equally important to consistently help them cope. This means allotting new time in your schedule as well.
Someone with autism who is thrown out of rhythm will be likely to have questions and concerns, and you might not always know the answer immediately. These also might coincide with issues you are taking on personally, but it is vital to be a friend and ally without projecting your own issues at the same time.
Overall, the strategy in adjusting to COVID-19 related hurdles is not unlike better-defined challenges in dealing with autism — it is just new. We advise looking for new studies and advice from educators and therapists to provide insight into techniques that will help your entire family.
We are all feeling the stress of the strange world around us at the moment, and a great source of relief is that you are not in this battle alone. Countless parents, teachers, and therapists for children with autism are unifying to provide amazing tools and support for the community. While there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for individuals with autism, there will be an abundance of strong starting points for routines.
One benefit for parents of children with autism is the prevalence of being able to work-from-home. This allows you to spend much more time with your child, establishing a schedule and routine that provides comfort to both of you. The flexibility in hours will let you align times with educators, doctors, and therapists.
Different stimuli are important for helping your child learn and adapt. There will be plenty of opportunities for on-screen learning, but it is just as dynamic to have conversations about the information they’re taking in, how they feel about the current environment, or what challenges they may face. Also, audio resources like podcasts or positive news about the world are great for mental health and engagement.
Similarly, it will be important to help a child with autism adjust to these different learning methods by understanding them better yourself. This includes the use of computers, tablets, and phones for education and therapy. While there is great support from therapists and teachers, your child still might get frustrated with the function of a new set up. Being patient while demonstrating proper techniques will help both of you in the long run.
While it is always important to be patient and understanding of your child’s needs, it is amplified during COVID-19. There may be certain habits or behaviors that regress as routines are broken and adjusted. This is not cause for panic or anger, but merely refocus and positivity — no one wants to feel alone or disrupted in their daily life, and we advise using this new structure as stability for both you and your child.
It can be tough for someone with autism in the COVID-19 world, but there is support for children and parents alike. Teaching a child about the importance of safety precautions and learning in a new environment can provide valuable long-term growth. Making the most of an opportunity is also a lesson that can be applied life-long for someone with autism, and we encourage you to frame the current environment in that way.
Most of all, there are many ways to create positivity for you, your family, and your child. Ally Pediatric Therapy aims to be a leading provider of support, consultation, and resources if you need them. Our team of professionals looks forward to the opportunity of bringing some normalcy back to your child’s daily routine.
If you are looking to make a change, please reach out today — we’d love to help.