The pandemic caused by coronavirus is one of a kind situation for people across the globe. The measures undertaken to stop the spread of the virus has caused various disruptions in work and family routines. Moreover, it is a much more difficult time for parents as well as children with Autism.
Time to put your excessive worries to end. MHT Blogs have come up with unique resources for autism that can aid your child’s development even during this pandemic. Below are some activities and resources that target social skills, sensory issues, scheduling and other helpful tips for your child with autism.
1. Regularity in Daily Schedule
Parents and professionals are thoroughly aware of the fact that any individual who has autism finds it difficult to change their daily schedule or follow a new routine. Therefore, keep this in mind that if you are developing a new schedule for your child, keep it simple as well as stick with until the end of the pandemic. This can be cumbersome for parents, but I urge parents to keep the same routine everyday.
Creating a visual schedule can help children follow it better. An example of a simple schedule is provided below that can be used as a template for many parents of children with autism:
2. Social Story for COVID-19
Sangath along with Amanda McGuinness, an organisation in India, has drafted a social story in Hindi and English that educates children with autism about COVID-19. The images provided in this social story are helpful in educating your child about coronavirus, develop good hygiene and explain why school and other places are closed during this time.
The link to these social stories by Sangath are provided below. From here, you can download these social stories and use them to educate your child about COVID-19.
Coronavirus Social Story in Hindi
Coronavirus Social Story in English
3. Managing Sensory Issues at Home
Dysfunctional sensory systems are a common symptom of Autism as well as other developmental disabilities. Sensory Integration techniques or therapies of these senses can facilitate attention and awareness, and reduce overall arousal. DIY sensory activities for all sensory system – visual, olfactory, oral, auditory, tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive- are all possible. Some of them are :
- Color Mixing Sensory Bottles
- Sensory Sniff Jars- vanilla, rose, citrus, cinnamon fragrance
- Play a musical instrument
- Finger Painting
- Playing Hopscotch
- Carrying/Lifting boxes
Read more about DIY sensory activities for autism in our previous blogs:
DIY Sensory Activities for Autism- Part I
DIY Sensory Activities for Autism- Part II
4. Stay Positive
News updates about COVID-19 can be overwhelming therefore keeping a positive mindset is an all time advice for everyone across the globe. Limit your and children’s intake of the news. Share facts about COVID-19 according to your child’s age and understanding. For you child, you are the mere source of positivity and reassurance. Try to sense their anxiety, listen to their concern, avoid being judgemental and provide them with clear information. You can also try to encourage them to stay in contact with their friends, peers and support groups by video or voice calls.
Our last note to parents is to keep yourself as well as your children positive and healthy. Use this time to rebuild the connection with children and yourself. Ensure you and your children practise hand washing through five simple steps – wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. You can make a visual chart of the handwashing schedule as well. Maintain a healthy diet and sleep schedule. Good health and wellness to all!
5. Happy Chant App
A unique app with features such as chanting, mindfulness, and meditation. Since compassion and mental health are more important than ever right now, we came up with the idea of creating a system that helps users cope with stress, anxiety, a lack of concentration, and much more. HappyChant is intended to bring positive change to people’s lives, offering a friendly and easy-to-use support system for you to practice the science of chanting mantras and thus, taking care of your mental and physical wellness.
References: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuroscience-in-translation/202003/how-explain-global-health-crisis-children-autism https://kfan.iheart.com/featured/mansour-s-musings/content/2020-03-15-try-this-covid-19-daily-schedule-to-keep-your-kids-from-going-stir-crazy/ https://www.autismspeaks.org/sites/default/files/flu_teaching_story_final%20%281%29.pdf http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/autism-and-coronavirus-covid-19-993087
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