Since receiving your child’s autism diagnosis, you have undoubtedly faced many challenges as you have navigated the world of parenting a child with autism. The Coronavirus pandemic has been an extremely challenging time for society as a whole and has presented a set of unique challenges for parents of individuals with autism. Below we’ll discuss how to talk to your child about COVID-19 and the other Coronavirus resources that are available for children who are autistic.
How To Talk to Your Child About COVID-19
Unfortunately, COVID-19 is one of the biggest disruptions to daily routines that many of us have ever faced. Because many children with autism do not do well with disrupted routines, it is important to talk to your child honestly, directly, and clearly about the virus so that they have an understanding of the reasons that their routines have been broken. While you may mention that there is a virus going around and it’s important to take it seriously, you should keep the focus on the actionable ways you can remain healthy and safe. Make it clear to your child that they may not be able to go outside or see other people as much, but that it will be something to look forward to in the future.
Another great way to talk to your child about COVID-19 is through social stories. Social stories help children cope by creating pictures that illustrate actions. You can assist them in drawing images of themselves and others washing hands, wearing a mask, and staying 6 feet away from those who don’t live with them in order to assist them in the processing of this new information.
What Are Some Coping Activities to Incorporate Into Their Routine?
One of the best ways to help your child cope during the pandemic is to incorporate a few new activities into their old routine. Stick to a regular bed and wake up time, meal and snack times, screen time, and chores while incorporating more hand washing and social distancing practices. There may be a bit of a learning process, but eventually, the new activities will become part of their normal routine.
What Fun Activities Can You Enjoy with Your Child?
To help your child cope and to give them a sense of normalcy, try doing arts and crafts together. Art therapy is an excellent way to help deal with the stress surrounding the Coronavirus. Another great idea for when you can’t leave the house is to go on virtual outings, such as online tours of zoos and museums. You can also enjoy some fun outdoors with a picnic in your own backyard.
Encouraging your child to spend some time along on activities that help calm and center them is also important. You can encourage your child to exercise and meditate to ease anxiety. Writing and listening to music are also wonderful outlets for coping with the discomfort of dealing with the pandemic.
If you need more COVID19 autism resources, one of the best Coronavirus resources for autistic children is AFIRM’s free COVID-19 toolkit. As always, ShineLight is here for you and your children with autism during this difficult time. Our list of educational material and resource links are on our website for you to use. You can also contact us by phone, fax, or filling out a form for us to get back to you.
About ShineLight | Coronavirus Resources for Autistic Children
ShineLight is a unique organization created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. ShineLight serves as a guiding light for individuals and their families by leading the way in support services and community advocacy. Their service areas include: Fayetteville, Wake, Sampson, Scotland, Duplin, Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Bladen Counties.