With all of the constant change in America and the DFW Area, it’s normal for your children to be confused or frustrated with all of the uncertainties and changes they are experiencing. From staying at home for 2 months, to only being able to leave while wearing a mask, it’s a lot to take in. It’s important as parents to help our children through these difficult times. We want to help you with coping with change during COVID-19 by giving you a few helpful tips.
-Applaud Your Child: This is a great way to help your child with the new changes and it’s something we encourage all of the time already. Letting your child know when they do a good job at encourages their positive behaviors. Try to catch your child doing something right and praise them for it!
-Continue to Provide Structure and Routine: Children on the autism spectrum tend to function best when they are able to stick to their daily routine; this helps them to know what to expect. Continue to use your visual schedules and visual countdowns to help with transitions. The more familiar the routine, the easier it will be on your child.
-Explain New Social Rules: Review the new social rules and expectations with your child often. Remind them about social distancing and keeping personal space, introduce new ways for them to greet their friends, explain why people are wearing masks, and go over proper hand-washing procedures.
-Keep an Eye on Changes: Be sure to keep an eye on your child’s sleeping and eating habits as well as their behavior. Many children on the autism spectrum have difficulty expressing themselves so if you notice any major changes it could be due to them being anxious, stressed, or fearful. Be sure to let your pediatrician or ABA therapist know of any changes you see.
-Provide Positive Coping Strategies: For many children it’s normal to feel stress or anxiety during these challenging times. Provide your child with a list of effective coping strategies that will work them. Some examples could be a short breathing exercise, listening to their favorite song, being able to bring their favorite toy with them, or some sort of short physical activity.
-Use Visual Aids and Social Stories/Narrative: Many kids on the autism spectrum benefit greatly from visual aids and social stories/narratives. Being able to visualize what you’re saying and explaining is a great way for them to fully understand. Check out these two we have made to help with hand-washing and some tips to protect yourself.
We know this is a very difficult time and it’s hard to know just how to handle it all. We want you to know that you’re doing great!
Please let us know if there is any way that the PediaPlex family can help you and your family navigate through this time! We are open and seeing patients, as well as offering teletherapy services for Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and ABA Therapy. You can visit our website here for more information on our services.
-The PediaPlex Family