I think we can all agree that this pandemic has interrupted our lives in so many ways. I think we can also agree that this disruption has caused emotional distress. Personally, the changes to my daily routine have impacted my mental health significantly. For the Autism community, COVID-19 has interrupted vital services such as ABA therapy, speech therapy, and social skills classes. People on the spectrum may already be struggling socially, and this pandemic has not helped. Transitions can be challenging for people with ASD. Therefore, we need to practice patience and grace!
So what can we do to support people on the spectrum? For younger children, we can try using social stories to explain COVID-19. Social stories use illustrations that explain things in simple terms. Social stories are great for preparing children for changes in routine. For example, I have used social stories to prepare my son for dentist appointments. It is essential to let your children know what is going on, but in a way, they can understand. Since schedules are important, try to create a routine that works for your child and stick to it as much as possible. Give your child breaks in between school Zoom meetings so that they can decompress. Zoom in with family members and friends so that your children stay connected to loved ones. Most importantly, be patient and know that you may have to work at it before getting your routine down! Don’t be hard on yourself or your child! We are all adapting the best we can!
I would love to hear from you! What are some things you have done during this pandemic to keep things as normal as possible for your loved ones?
Here you can find a link to a free social story on social distancing provided by HMEA Autism Resource Center: