Within a matter of weeks, nearly everyone’s lives got turned upside down from a global pandemic that none of us have ever experienced. Drastic change and facing the unknown can make many people feel depressed and anxious, especially those with autism. There are things that parents of a child with autism can do to help their kids and themselves get through the COVID-19 pandemic with peace, hope, and even gratitude.
Help Your Child Understand
Children with autism often do best when there is normality. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put us in unprecedented times where things are not normal. Social stories can be a great way to help children with autism understand the current events and circumstances affecting their lives. Here is a list of free downloadable social stories to explain some COVID-19-related concerns:
Stick to Routines as Much as Possible
While schools and other activities may be temporarily closed, you can help keep some familiarity in your child’s life by establishing and maintaining routines. Keeping bedtimes, morning and evening rituals, and where possible, mimicking school schedules when certain activities take place can help kids feel more comfortable and secure.
Keep It Positive
Try to embrace this time to do things that you may not have been able to do as much before. For example, ‘stay at home’ orders can provide excellent opportunities for playing games, baking, reading stories, taking walks, and doing other fun activities together. These positive activities can also become cherished memories. Taking photos can help you and your child fondly look back on these times together once schedules return to normal.
Take Advantage of Available Resources and Toolkits
The autism community has been actively developing supportive resources to disseminate helpful information and tips for getting through these unprecedented times. Autism Speaks, Autism Society, and Autism Science Foundation provide practical toolkits to help individuals with autism and their families cope.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s essential to make sure that you’re also taking care of yourself. When you feel yourself getting stressed, take a moment and try to relax; take a walk, meditate, write your favorite inspirational quotes or verses, or practice relaxing breathing techniques. Try to stay connected to others. If spending time in person isn’t possible, there are other ways to stay connected, including social media, phone calls, and video conferencing, such as Zoom. Remember, you’re not alone, and we’re all in this together. There are several support groups, resources, and programs available to help families with autism get through this pandemic. Dynamis ABA cares about you and your family’s well-being, and we are also here to help. To learn more, call 619-363-3782 or visit www.dynamisaba.com.
If you would like more about ways that you can help your child with autism feel at peace during COVID-19 or would like individualized assistance, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.