Coronavirus-news June 22, 2020
Four tips for parents to help calm a child with autism during the pandemic
Children with autism have many difficulties staying indoors for a long time during these times. Moreover, the Coronavirus pandemic has caused anxiety and stress in children with autism. But parents can reach out to them. Read on to know how.
The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has changed the schedules and lifestyle of many people. In fact, everyone is getting used to new normal. This includes wearing face masks, using hand-washes and sanitizers, social distancing, attending events and meetings online and even working from home.
When it comes to children with disabilities, staying indoors for a long time can be tough, especially for those who are hyperactive and has neuro-developmental disabilities. Children under the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are clearly one of the worst affected. Since many are non-verbal, they do not even know how to express themselves. Parents also find it hard to explain why they do not have school or cannot go outdoors. It is not easy to remain calm and patient during these tough times. But parents must ensure that they reach out to their child.
Sangeetha John who has a daughter with autism says, “My daughter Sherin was always home-schooled. So the current times is nothing new to me as far as spending time with Sherin is concerned. I divided the household work between Sherin and her sister since our domestic help could not come. That is one way of engaging them. Sherin was initially anxious about the Coronavirus scare. But I calmed her down by making her draw pictures and reading out pleasant stuff to her”.
Check out these four tips
- Talk to you child– It is important to talk to your child about Coronavirus and how the world has changed due to it. But do not highlight merely on the negatives. Let your child look at the positive side of it too like how people are now more aware of the need to be hygienic and so on. Parents can use visual supports like arts and crafts for it. Make sure that your child does not watch too much of Coronavirus related news on TV because that only causes anxiety and stress in them.
- Establish a daily routine– Parents who have a child with autism knows the importance of creating a daily schedule for them. They go by it and prefers to follow it without fail. Create a schedule while at home too. Cancelling school and play activities can be hard for the child. Find alternatives for that. Make sure they get engaged in some activity. With lockdown being extended, parents must plan and schedule accordingly.
- Create a quite space– Some days can be hard for the child and parent. When the child has a meltdown, parents might find it difficult to calm them down. So for that, it is important to find a quiet place inside the house which the child also feels comfortable in.
- Set goals to achieve– Keep some basic and simple goals that you can achieve. You can even seek the help of teachers for it. Plan something that the child can achieve in the next three or four weeks. Let them start working on it. Guide them in the right manner. Try and focus on life skills. You will be amazed how well your child can achieve in a short time!
Anita Pradeep, whose son Brian Varghese is under the autism spectrum, has some interesting tips for other parents. “We explained this is a germ and steps had to be taken to ensure he does not get infected. We told him to wash his hands regularly and now he has taken it a step further and washes it all the time! So, we had to explain the importance of saving water. Since he cannot go out, we keep him engaged at home with activities like Scrabble, cooking and painting”, she says.
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